What Kind Of Physical Therapist Do I Need
All physical therapists are prepared through education and experience to treat a variety of conditions, including infant flat head syndrome. You may wish to consider:
- A pediatric physical therapist who is experienced in treating babies with flat head syndrome.
- A physical therapist who is a board-certified clinical specialist in pediatric or neurologic physical therapy. This physical therapist has advanced knowledge, experience, and skills for this condition.
You can find physical therapists in your area with these credentials and clinical expertise through Find a PT, a tool built by the American Physical Therapy Association.
General tips when looking for a physical therapist :
- Get recommendations from family, friends, or other health care providers.
- Ask about the physical therapist’s experience treating flat head syndrome before making an appointment.
- Be prepared to describe your child’s history since birth and their symptoms in as much detail as possible.
Flat Head Syndrome: Diagnosis And Treatment
Your pediatrician will check your babys head shape at each wellness visit. They do this to monitor healthy growth and check for any flat spots. If you notice a flattened spot on your babys head, its best to ask your child’s healthcare provider to assess the spot.
Its unlikely, but sometimes flat spots are a sign of a rare condition called craniosynostosisa condition where the skull bones fuse too early.
Diagnosis is made with a simple physical exam to assess the head and neck muscles. If your child’s healthcare provider suspected craniosynostosis, they might recommend imaging to take a closer look at the skull.
Usually, flat head syndrome isn’t cause for any serious health concerns, especially when caught early. Mild to moderate flat spots may resolve through simply changing the babys head position regularly.
Often, flat spots improve on their own as babies start to hold their heads up, crawl, and move their own position often. You can help prevent flattened areas and encourage them to heal by:
If your baby tends to hold their head to one side more than the other, it could be a sign of tight neck muscles. Your healthcare provider may refer you to physical therapy to help improve the tight neck muscles. A physical therapist will suggest exercises to help to improve muscle strength and range of motion.
How To Cure Flat Head Syndrome In Babies
Reposition is the best treatment that can be administered to a baby if this condition is detected early enough. It is the best when the infant is of the age of five months and below, so the sooner you detect this disorder, the better. The treatment is said to be the first line of cure so that to reduce the pressure that might be causing the development of the flatness.
Another form of treatment of this condition is by changing the sleeping position of the baby, ensure the baby spends little time in swings or the bouncy seats, and also providing the baby with maximum tummy time.
As said, if you do it early and more aggressively to give the kid the repositioning therapy, the better effects the treatment will bring about on the shape of the babys head.
However, there are other kids whose heads seem much softer as compared to others at large. You will also note that some babies conditions might turn out to be more severe as compared to others. So, the parents efforts in providing them the repositioning therapy can at times not be enough to correct this problem.
In case the kid has been diagnosed by the muscular condition, then considering the physical therapy to administer the state can be the best option to go with.
In case the treatment is craniosynostosis, considering surgery can be the remaining method to treat this condition.
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How To Fix Flat Head Syndrome In Adults
It is an unfortunate thing to the adults as the only treatment of this condition is through surgery, and usually, there are a few of the specialists who will be willing to take you through the entire procedure. Since this disorder is said to be mostly cosmetic, the general treatment costs and risks involved with surgery will outweigh the final benefits you need to achieve.
Parents are these days advised to consider repositioning the heads of their babies early for their betterment. Through this, they will vary the position at which their kids sit, play, and sleeps so that they can relieve the skulls backpressure at large. This cure is best and can go out successful when diagnosing mild cases of this condition. In case it fails, considering a helmet can be the best option to correct the problem.
As time goes by, babies will become toddlers, and they will, most times, be moving independently. At this time, there can be a limit at which repositioning can show out results. At the same time, since the helmets are meant to treat moderate and severe conditions to babies, the method can turn more ineffective once the child is about 14 months since this time, the skull bones start to harden.
Change Babys Sleep Positioning
Varying your babys sleeping position at various intervals usually goes a long way to reduce the chances of a baby getting flat head syndrome, and to resolve a flat spot if already started. The primary thing is to ensure you alternate the directions that your baby is sleeping within the crib.
The kid will usually try to look out of the crib towards the door or room and will be turning the head in the same direction. Putting a lot of effort in the same area on the back of his/her head, therefore, each moment you put the kid in the crib make sure to put him/her on a different position, but its good to know many other factors such as torticollis which are at work.
You can also speak with your health care specialist because physical therapy and specialized exercises may also be recommended. It is also essential to keep turning the position in which you hold and carry the baby, for example, on different shoulders.
Unique infant sleep positioners are available in the market that is manufactured specifically to keep your kid in a particular sleep position, which means the childs caretaker can change the sleeping spot for the baby every time he/she is put to lie down.
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Adding Variety To Babys Back Time
Follow These Tips To Prevent Plagiocephaly A Skull Deformity Caused By Head Molding In Babies
Physicians have been seeing an increase in head and neck issues in infants since 1992 when the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended laying children on their backs to decrease sudden infant death syndrome . Although the “Back to Sleep” campaign has lowered crib deaths by nearly 50 percent, deformities such as plagiocephaly have been on the rise. That’s because back-laying infants have limited opportunities to move and stretch, causing their soft skulls to mold.
James Laughlin, M.D., a pediatrician in Bloomington, Indiana, a Fellow in the American Academy of Pediatrics , and the primary author of “Prevention and Management of Positional Skull Deformities,” says there are a number of preventative measures that parents can take. First and foremost, he says, it’s important that parents continue placing infants on their backs to sleep. He also offers the following tips for how to prevent flat head syndrome.
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What Can You Do About It
There are several ways you can prevent or even change your babys head shape depending on the severity of the flattening.
If its a slightly flattened spot that you are worried about and theyre in the 2-4 month old range, changing positions should do just fine.
Also, once your baby is able to sit up independently and not relying on baby gear to lay in all day, their head will get rounder on its own.
If there is a more significant deformity, your best option may be a helmet to reshape the head. Remember, addressing this concern as early as possible will make sure there are no lasting effects.
So it may be hard to decide on the helmet, but once its done its job, you dont need to worry about it ever again!
Its not your fault if your babys head is getting flat!
Youre not a bad mom if you had to leave them in the swing a few extra minutes to save your sanity or because you let them sleep in the Rock n Play because you need a good nights sleep to function.
Some babies are just more prone to this happening and it wont cause lasting effects since youre addressing it early.
Youre doing a great job and now take the necessary steps to give your baby a rounder head!
Here are some tips and positions to help remove the pressure from your babys flat spot.
Lying on their Side
You Need To Know The Risk Factors
I believe every parent should be informed about the risk factors for plagiocephaly.
This would enable adequate education on what can be done by you the parent early, so that FHS can be avoided.
So without further adieu.
i) Intrauterine Constraint i.e., Not enough room
Larger than average infant head
> 40 weeks delivery
Prolonged labour especially second stage
Use of forceps or ventouse
Emergency caesarian section
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Insufficient Time Spent On The Stomach
Plagiocephaly is more likely the more time your baby spends on their back. Adequate tummy time while you are awake and watching them can help reduce their risk of this condition.
Your baby may cry when you put them on their tummy, but its important to offer several tummy-time sessions a day.
When your baby is awake, place them on their tummy atop a blanket or mat. Start with a few minutes per session, and a few sessions a day. As your baby develops more muscle strength and neck control, you can increase the session duration.
Tummy time can also help your baby to build strength and muscles necessary for rolling over, crawling, sitting up, and, eventually, walking.
What Are Treatments For Flat Head Syndrome
Treatment of flat head syndrome depends on the symptoms, age, general health of your child, and severity of the condition:
- Physical therapy: Physical therapists can advise exercises and stretches that may help lengthen and straighten your baby’s neck muscles.
- Helmet: Your doctor may suggest a helmet for your baby. This helmet fits loosely in the flat area and tightly at the round area, helping the flat area grow.
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How To Prevent Plagiocephaly
With the exception of craniosynostosis, which restricts brain growth, plagiocephaly is usually temporary and typically doesnt cause problems the brain continues to grow normally, just in a different shape. Still, many parents would prefer to avoid plagiocephaly if possible.
Luckily thats very easy to do. The number one way to prevent flat head syndrome? Dont leave your infant in the same position all the time, Cunningham says. If baby tends to always look to one side while sleepinglikely in the direction where the interesting things arereverse their position in the crib each night , so they have to look the opposite way. Or if you have a cool mobile or toy within eyesight, move it to the other side of the crib to refocus babys gaze. Be aware of positional preferences that baby has so you can rotate them as needed, Cunningham says.
The second most important practice for plagiocephaly prevention is to make sure that when baby is awake, theyre not always on their back. Practice tummy time each day to help prevent plagiocephaly and help baby start preparing for other milestones like rolling over and sitting up. A baby lying on their stomach wont face-plant on the rug, Cunningham says. Theyll lift their head up so its in a neutral position while also strengthening their neck muscles. The easy rule: If babys awake, flip em over.
Can You Prevent Plagiocephaly
You can prevent flat head syndrome at home by having baby spend as much time as possible off of his back. This includes:
- Giving your baby at least 30 minutes of supervised tummy time every day when he’s awake, starting as soon as he comes home from the hospital
- Putting your baby to sleep on his back at alternate ends of the crib
- Carrying him more often
- Sitting him upright rather than laying him down when bottle-feeding
Parents concerned about head shape should make sure their first priority is to prevent SIDS and other sleep disorders. Back-sleeping may increase the risk of flat head syndrome but it reduces the risk of SIDS, so it’s worth the trade-off.
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Does Flat Head Syndrome Correct Itself
Its something obvious that mild flat head syndrome doesnt necessarily require to be treated. The problem can fix itself as the baby keeps on growing all through. If you have ever noticed, the babys head keeps attaining shape day in day out. Every babys head shape will keep improving naturally as her head grows.
What Causes The Flat Head Syndrome
The flat head syndrome is the most prevalent type of plagiocephaly, mostly because parents have been advised by medical specialists to ensure their babies sleep on their backs to avoid sudden infant syndrome.
An infants skull is usually malleable for up to eighteen months after birth, and spending long periods in one position can trigger a flattening effect, also known as positional cephalic disorders and craniosynostosis.
Infants diagnosed with the flattening of heads are at long last found to be affected by positional plagiocephaly, scaphocephaly, or brachycephaly. The primary cause of these medical issues has been poor positioning in the womb, extended time used in one position, or trauma caused during birth.
There are other risk factors for developing a flat head syndrome, not directly related to the position a child is placed in for sleep. Such as, being a premature male, especially in the cases of scaphocephaly, or being in a restricted uterine environment.
The sleeping position is the primary and common cause of this cFsondition to many. You will find most infants lying on their backs several hours most days this will cause the babys head to get flattened at one side. This development doesnt not only occur while infants are asleep but also when they are in infant car seats, swings, carriers, bouncy seats, and strollers, among others.
Once the head has developed the flat spot, the neck condition, also referred to as the torticollis will develop worse.
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How To Prevent And Cure Flat Head Syndrome In Babies And Adults
Flat head syndrome, also named brachycephaly or plagiocephaly, is a type of skull deformity. This can sound very scary and very serious, but it is widespread. Around twenty-five percent of the infants suffer from some degree of flat head syndrome in their childhood years.
The flat head syndrome refers explicitly to the flattening of the skull at the back of the head. The flat head syndrome may cause the widening of the head and in some severe cases, the front of the head to bulge forward. This situation may affect the placement of the ears and eyes, giving a wonky effect.
Hold Your Baby And Limit Time In Car Seats
Ultimately, the more time that a baby spends lying on their back or in their car seat/carry cot, the more likely to are to develop a flattening on their head. To avoid this, we advise that you make a conscious effort to spend time holding your baby or using a sling instead of having them constantly lying down.
Additionally, take your little one out of their car seat as soon as a journey is over to remove the external pressure to their head. Car seat manufacturers recommend that a baby should not be in a seat for more than 2 hours without a break. For more information on the relationship between carry cots, car seats, and flat head syndrome, refer to our guide.
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