Osteopathy for babies and infants is a gentle and non-invasive technique whereby the practitioner helps the body’s natural self-correcting mechanism to relieve trauma that may have been caused during pregnancy or childbirth.
The position of the foetus in the womb, for example, can affect the baby’s muscle tone and future mobility and posture.
The movement of the baby through the cervix in labour obliges the head to move in several specific directions whilst undergoing the powerful pressure of the contractions; this naturally causes some overlapping of the skull and compression. Some compressions may be relieved spontaneously after birth as the baby cries or suckles; however this un-moulding process is often incomplete, especially if the birth has been difficult.
Babies who have experienced forceps delivery, a long labour or caesarean birth often require the attention of a qualified osteopath.
There are many different reasons why babies and infants can benefit from osteopathy, some of which are listed below:
- Post-natal check-up
- Annual check-up
- Childbirth which has necessitated labour lasting less than 2 or more than 8 hours.
- Premature or multiple births
- Plagiocephaly, flat head or odd-shaped head: if your baby loses its hair in only one specific area, it is recommended that you consult an osteopath as quickly as possible.
- Digestive problems: colic, regurgitation, feeding difficulties, diarrhea and/or constipation.
- Sleep disturbances, restless, unsettled babies.
- Congenital torticollis: if your baby has difficulties in moving its head to one side, consult as soon as possible.
- Excessive crying
- Hyper/hypo activity
- Suckling or feeding difficulties: if the mother experiences nipple pain after breast-feeding, if the baby is prone to choking while suckling or shows signs of fatigue while feeding.
- Chronic ear, nose and throat infections
- Difficult delivery (forceps, vacuum…)
- Eyes: convergent or divergent squints
Children and adolescents often push their bodies to the limit, or sometimes they simply play too many computer games with slouched posture. In either case it is not uncommon for children to experience pain as they grow. Treating children for falls, sporting accidents or poor posture may reduce the impact that such things have on their adult body. Parents often notice their children limping, favouring a limb, experiencing headaches, or having unusual spinal curves. Osteopathy may offer treatment for many conditions children experience, and reducing your child’s pain may even help with concentration at school.
It is essential that a child’s formative years be closely monitored in order to avoid the onset and continuation of any physical imbalances that may occur. Leaving a problem to “fix itself” could cause your child to develop bad postural habits and compensate unnecessarily for discomfort or pain in a specific area, thus causing the imbalances referred to above.
Children will also be prone to minor accidents as they learn to walk, ride a bike or play sport for the first time. Even what seem like harmless falls or injuries can cause functional problems later in life, whereas immediate correction by a trained osteopath can often put things right.
There are many different reasons why children and adolescents can benefit from osteopathy, some of which are listed below:
- Yearly check-up during periods of growth
- Concentration problems at schoolIrregular sleeping patterns
- Recurring ear, nose and throat infections
- Digestive problems: diarrhea, constipation, recurring stomach pain,…
- Bad postureCurvature of the spine: osteopathy can help to prevent the onset of scoliosis if the child is regularly seen by an osteopath and the problem has been diagnosed in its early stages. Carrying heavy school bags, playing sport and the wearing of a dental brace can all cause the spine to deviate from its original position, thus potentially leading to scoliosis.
- The prevention of problems linked to the mobility of the skull due to tension in the jaw area during orthodontic treatments (braces, etc…)
- Headaches, dizziness, poor vision, mood swings
- Backache or muscular and joint pains
- Following physical trauma such as sprains, fractures or dislocations
- Following an operation in order to limit the physical strain imposed on certain parts of the body by the scarred tissue.
A woman’s body is subject to numerous changes during pregnancy, each one different according to the individual and the stage of pregnancy. These changes upset the hormonal, physical and mental balance of future mothers and are often responsible for the appearance of entirely new aches and pains together with functional problems. Osteopathy is able to help women in these cases while avoiding taking medicine.
During the first term of pregnancy, an osteopath’s main focus will be on the neuro-vegetative state of the pregnant woman, thus diminishing the recurrent symptoms commonly associated with early pregnancy: nausea, vomiting, bowel movements, lower back pain and irritability.
The second term sees the expansion of the uterus which can displace the viscera (abdomen) and lead to extra strain on the diaphragm and ribs as well as the psoas muscle and the pelvis. By working on such areas, an osteopath is able to decrease the impact of circulatory disorders and contractions in order to improve the general flexibility of the pelvis and thus better prepare the patient for childbirth.
In the third term of pregnancy, osteopathy can help to maintain the overall balance of the woman’s body and counteract the effects of weight gain and hyperlordosis in the lumbar region. By doing so there is a significant decrease in muscular and joint pain, gastric reflux, fatigue and problems linked to carpal tunnel syndrome, very frequent towards the end of pregnancy.
Childbirth requires the mobilisation of all the mother’s strength and energy. The role of an osteopath is to pinpoint the areas causing dysfunction, which might later cause problems during labour and the expulsion phase.
- Many pregnant women consult after experiencing the following symptoms :
- Backache, pains at the base of the spine
- Sciatica, cruralgia
- Digestive problems
- Sensation of tired, achy legs
- Breathing problems and rib pains
- Recurrent urinary infectionsHeadaches and migraines since start of pregnancy
- A simple check-up to prepare the pelvis for childbirth and facilitate the expulsion of the baby during delivery
- Osteopathy can also reduce the risk linked to premature birth
Many factors come into play when diagnosing and treating pain and discomfort. Osteopathy looks at the person as a whole: their professional obligations, daily stress, eating habits, sporting activities, post-trauma and medical history, all of which will have an impact on their general state of health.
Some of the symptoms for which adults and seniors should see an osteopath :
- Muscular/joint pain: arthritis, stiff neck, lumbago, back pain, sciatica, cruralgia, tendinitis, recurrent muscular tension
- Digestive problems: gastric reflux, bloating, bowel movements and stomach pain, IBS, …
- Headaches, migraines, neuralgia
- Chronic ear, nose and throat infections
- Gynaecological and/or urinary problems: pain during intercourse, painful periods, pre and post-natal check-ups.
- Post-trauma: after a car accident (even those which do not engender any apparent pain), sprains or falls
- Post-surgical: after three weeks you can consult an osteopath to optimise the healing process
- General check-up (preventative)
- Pain relief linked to serious health conditions and/or the side effects of related treatments.
The techniques used by your osteopath are specifically adapted to your age group and your general state of health. The more severe the degeneration of bones and joints, the gentler the approach.
Seniors should therefore have no concerns regarding osteopathic treatment and often consult an osteopath for the following reasons :
- A check-up in order to ward off the adverse effects of the aging process (via optimal postural balance)
- Rheumatic pain (arthritis/arthrosis)
- Morning stiffness
- Circulation problems (varicose veins, tired, achy legs)
Whatever type of sport and whatever your level, you naturally run a higher risk of injury and mild trauma.
Each sport is different and will therefore have specific repercussions on the body. Marathon runners who undergo a series of repetitive minor strain injuries to their lower limbs, will not be affected by the same injuries as someone involved in combat sport or a contact sport such as rugby.
An osteopath plays an important role in maintaining joint mobility, reducing adhesions and soft tissue restrictions, which in turn result in structural balance and restored movement. In short, enhanced performance.
Osteopathy can help :
- Overcome injuries
- Recover from sprains, fractures, recurrent tendinitis, dislocation…
- Improve performance (in preparation for an upcoming sporting event)
- Prevent further injury following trauma or surgery
- Recuperate fully after competitive events
- Prepare the body for a sport practised infrequently (ski-ing, scuba-diving)
No matter whether you work in an office, in the field or on the factory floor, you need to be able to cope with the individual demand made on your body by the type of job you do. Manual work inevitably causes the inherent risk of injury caused by lifting heavy objects and periods of prolonged stretching or bending. Such repetitive movements and incorrect posture can be the cause of back injuries, sciatica and muscle strains, to mention but a few.
In the office, where people are generally “glued” to their desk for hours on end, there is a risk of developing so called “computer hump” or “mouse wrist”, eye fatigue, headaches, tingling fingers, stiff neck and shoulder pain.
Musculo-skeletal disorders affect all professions across the board and account for 80% of currently recognised occupational diseases. Osteopathy can help treat mobility restrictions linked to your particular working conditions and limit any adverse physical consequences.