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Flat Heads, Helmets & Torticollis

flat head babyYou’ve probably seen kids developing a flat spot on their heads, which is often due to spending a lot of time in their cribs or car seats or on the floor. Some babies even wear helmets for plagiocephaly or “flat head syndrome.”

You also may see babies who have torticollis, an inability to rotate the neck evenly from side to side. Yes, there are cosmetic concerns, but the potential neurological issues down the road are even more significant! It’s vital to look at the cause of why these issues are occurring.

The Birth Process—the Root of Many Issues

In many cases, a baby can’t exit the womb on their own. As a result, some degree of pulling, twisting or rotating of their head and neck ends up happening.  In more severe cases, forceps or vacuum extraction is needed. Such interventions cause injury in the upper part of the neck. This is compounded even more by them spending a lot of time on their back in the crib or car seat.

The Role of the Vagus Nerve

Why is this a big deal? The vagus nerve comes out at the base of your skull and goes by the first couple of vertebrae in your neck. This nerve runs the immune system, digestion and all of the important developmental functions. When a baby has an injury at the top of the neck, the vagus nerve is impacted and functions like sleep and digestion become more difficult. An infant may be gassy or have reflux as a result.

Warning Signs of Neurological Issues

How can you be proactive about avoiding these challenges? Pay attention to these early warning signs and take action as soon as possible!

  • Stressful birth or birth injury
  • Hates tummy time
  • Poor latch/nursing
  • Prefer one side on breastfeeding
  • Colic/reflux/constipated – fussy baby
  • A lot of time in a car seat or on back
  • Head always turned in the same direction (notice in a car seat or while sleeping)
  • Holding head up on own earlier than normal
  • Bald spot forming on the back of the head

Again, these challenges are usually coming from an injury during the birth process that causes stress to the nerves in the upper neck and prevents them from being able to rotate the head in both directions. If the head is always turned the same direction it means the same side of the back of the head is on the hard surface—leading to the flattening.

What to Expect at Thrive Chiropractic

The first thing you should do is call our practice to book a complimentary consultation. We’ll sit down and hear more about what you’re hoping to achieve for your child. If you feel that we are a good fit for you, we then can perform a scan and analysis to evaluate everything that’s going on. We can objectively measure how your child’s nervous system is functioning.

A day or two later, we’ll have you come back for your patient recommendation conference. At that time, we’ll tell you 1) if we can help; 2) how long it will take; and 3) what it will cost.

Get Started Today

If your child is exhibiting any of the warning signs of neurological issues, contact our office today. By starting with pediatric chiropractic care right away (or even preventatively right after birth!), you can address the underlying cause and prevent future issues.[/builder_notebox]

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