For a baby, in a 9 months they develop from a ball of cells to a proto-adult before undergoing delivery, either naturally or with assistance such as forceps, ventouse or caesarian. Having arrived, there is a load of growing & developing to do, particularly in relating to movement from crawling through sitting to standing & walking.
Sometimes, babies and young children experience physical discomfort but because of their lack of language, can only express this through behaviour. Osteopaths are experts in identifying areas of physical tension through touch; osteopathic assessment may help to identify physical restriction or tension that, with treatment, may enable the baby or child to feel more comfortable which will be reflected in altered behaviour.
Because babies skeleton’s are softer than adults’, gentler techniques such as Cranial Osteopathy (also called craniosacral as it involves more than just the head), gentle massage and gentle articulation (rhythmic joint movements) are used on babies. These are quite different from the stronger sort of techniques used on adults and as with any osteopathic consultation, the potential risks and benefits of treatment (or no treatment) will be discussed before treatment is carried out.
Where appropriate, Helena may also refer mothers and babies back to their GP or midwife.
Please note, where a baby is brought to the practice by someone other than the mother (or her married spouse), a person with legal parental responsibility for the child must speak to the Osteopath before the consultation and give their consent in writing (by email is fine), otherwise it is not legal for treatment to go ahead.
Back Pain and Children
Like adults, children can suffer from back pain as a result of a variety of lifestyle activities. And like adults, there are number of things that parents and carers can do to prevent issues arising.
If your child does complain of back pain, it is important to seek advice from qualified professional, such as an osteopath. An osteopath will help to establish the cause of the problem and will provide advice on treatment, or refer you for further examinations if required.
Good school bags
Children are often required to carry bags full of books, PE kits, musical instruments and other equipment to and from school. Parents should try to limit the weight of school bags as much as possible and invest in a good quality back pack that the child should wear across both shoulders, ideally with a strap across the chest to keep the load close the their body. Packing the bag with the heaviest items (such as laptops and heavy books) closest to child’s body, will also make carrying more comfortable and less likely to strain the muscles of the back.
Limit screen time
Looking down to use smart phones, tablets and laptops for an extended period can pull the back and neck into an unnatural posture, resulting in pain. Placing limits on the time spent using devices and encouraging regular breaks may help to avoid problems. If your child has to use a laptop for homework, consider purchasing a support that elevates the screen to a height that allows him or her to sit up straight to look at it.
A sedentary lifestyle is known to contribute to the risk of developing back pain, as well as contributing to obesity. Regular physical activity helps to keep the core muscles that support the spine strong and maintain flexibility, which will help to avoid back pain. Encourage lots of active play, walking, running, swimming, cycling etc to keep your child fit and healthy.
The right bed and pillow
Good quality sleep is vital for both physical and mental development. Make sure that your child has a good sized comfortable bed with a firm mattress and a pillow that supports their head without lifting it too high.
Osteopathic Treatment for your child’s back pain
Your child’s back pain may benefit from osteopathic treatment. Using gentle manual therapy an osteopath will help to resolve any stresses and strains that are affecting their body and relieve their pain. They can also provide lifestyle advice that may help to prevent the problem from coming back.