When would you see a paediatric osteopath?
“As a paediatric osteopath I am frequently asked about particular conditions and how they respond to osteopathic treatment” explains Zoe Mundell. Zoe is an Osteopath for babies and children, and finds that many parents/carers seek help for a diverse range of symptoms and problems. Osteopathy does not intend to treat or cure ‘conditions', but instead tends to treat the whole person in order to improve function. “When healthy function is restored within the body, symptoms usually reduce”, Zoe explains. “Osteopathic treatment can benefit patients with a wide variety of symptoms and conditions by attempting to correct the cause of their problem.
The effect of birth on babies
It is now widely understood that childbirth places considerable force on the baby's neck, head and spine, as the motions of a ‘normal birth' are performed. Residual birth strains can cause discomfort in the newborn may contribute to common childhood problems including: colic; reflux; feeding and digestive difficulties; teething difficulties; torticollis (when the head becomes persistently turned to one side, often associated with painful spasms); sleep disturbances; or general unsettledness and irritability.
The potential effect of intervention during birth
Furthermore, a long or difficult birth with forceps or ventouse can take its toll on a baby's body, as can a fast or caesarian delivery.”Infants, toddlers and young school age children are too young or immature to accurately describe their discomfort and so they express pain or distress through chances in their behaviour,” explains Zoe. “for example, if a baby is uncomfortable the only way he/she can express this is through crying, not sleeping and/or not feeding well.” This causes many midwives and health visitors to refer young children to paediatric osteopaths.
Paediatric Osteopath assessment
An osteopath's assessment of a baby considers all aspects of his/her health from the point of conception, the growth and development during pregnancy, birth and delivery through to childhood. The baby's physical development will then be practically assessed; involves some specific reflex/mobility testing followed by a structural examination.”
Techniques used as a Paediatric Osteopath
As a paediatric osteopath, I use very gentle techniques, including cranial osteopath, to gently release any physical strains and bring the body into a position of ease.” These techniques, which can be used to treat even the most fragile babies (including those born prematurely), can bring the body to a position of ease in order to restore correct function and reduce any associated symptoms.
Zoe Mundell is an experienced osteopath and the Director of New Body Osteopathy.