This young patient was brought to me by his distressed mother. His occiput ( the bone at the back of the head) was flattened due to an intra-uterine injury. Probably, the baby was in an awkward position in the uterus for a prolonged period of time and this caused the back of the babies head to get deformed.
You may not realize this but a babies head is quite malleable. This is due to the fact that the sutures or joints that hold the bones of the head together are not totally formed. Nature provided the way for birth – the diameter of the head needs to accommodate the birth channel as it descends. So with every contraction, the babies head is forced downwards into the narrowing birth channel and is able to do this because the bones are not fully formed.
Happily the fact that the bones of the infant head floats and are not yet rigidly fixed works in favour of Moulding the shape of the head when a problem arises. This is accomplished by a series of gently persuasive techniques originally developed by Dr. Sutherland the father of Cranial Osteopathy.
To the mother’s delight (and mine too) our young patient required only four treatments over a period of four months to correct the rather severe flattening of the back of his head. This was great news since the child’s paediatrician suggested using a helmut apparatus to treat the deformation. A helmut apparatus is worn by the child for extended periods of time as a treatment for reshaping the head. I generally recommend this only after other approaches have not worked. Research suggests that early osteopathic intervention can improve head shape and support child development.
A happy resolution and a happy mother and baby.
By: Eddy Basch D.O.