Frequently Asked Questions About Osteopathic Treatment of Children and Babies

Why Do Babies Need Treatment?

They don’t necessarily! Many of our patients choose to bring their newborns in for a ‘once-over’, to address any minor issues that may be present due to positioning before birth, or due to the birth itself. Simple conditions such as wry neck can arise due to prolonged postures in utero, or as the result of the use of forceps during delivery, and this can be easily addressed with osteopathic treatment.Other babies are brought for treatment for more ongoing issues, such as reflux, colic, respiratory and feeding problems.

We also see babies with musculoskeletal problems, such as postural imbalances, difficulty with crawling, hip dysplasia and foot conditions. Sometimes these problems are obvious, and sometimes they do not become apparent until a baby is moving into a new developmental stage, eg learning to sit on their own.

How Do You Treat Babies and Children?

Paediatric treatment is very gentle, and usually addresses the whole body. It may include movement of the joints using articulation, gentle massage and stretching, and more subtle techniques aimed at relaxing the muscles and ligaments into positions of ease. Osteopaths may also use very indirect treatment known as cranial or biodynamic osteopathy, which is aimed at balancing fluid flow through the tissues and restoring whole body health.

Do You Need Any Additional Training to Work With Children?

Technically, you don’t need any additional training to treat paediatric patients, as many osteopathic treatments can be applied to people of all ages. However, the anatomy and physiology of babies and children is actually quite different to adults, as are the types of conditions and medical issues that commonly occur. All of our osteopaths at Beyond who choose to treat babies and small children have undertaken additional training for this reason, so they are up to date with current treatment approaches, presenting complaints and safety.

How Many Appointments Do Children and Babies Need?

Children and babies respond very quickly to treatment, as their bodies are constantly changing and the tissues are being renewed so regularly, that they tend to take the effects of treatment in their stride. They also don’t have a lifetime of postural dysfunction, stress and injury that adults have, so they don’t need as much treatment. Some problems can resolve in 1-2 treatments, but others may require ongoing treatment eg every 4-8 weeks until symptoms stabilise. We often find that we can essentially resolve a problem quite quickly, but it may return or regress later on alongside other events such as illness, vaccinations, teething and developmental milestones being achieved.

Does My Baby Need A referral to See an Osteopath?

No. But if you have seen a paediatrician or maternal and child health nurse and have had any tests already, please bring any information and contact details you have with you, as we may want to correspond with the rest of your health team. Any extra information you can provide is very helpful!

So if you are a new parent, have older children or even teenagers, and you are concerned about their musculoskeletal health, or would simply like them to have an overall assessment or ónce-over’, give us a call at Beyond.

Dr Jessie Wood and Dr Sarah Smith are our osteopaths with paediatric training- they between them have over 20 years experience in private practice, and are both mums as well! We look forward to helping you and your family MOVE THROUGH LIFE!

2018-10-22T18:20:42+00:00