Children should not be treated with sharp or forcible manipulation. Our osteopaths use gentle treatment called cranial osteopath. All of our practitioners are confident in the treatment of children.
During treatment we aim to keep our patients calm and still so we can take their bodies to a balance point and allow them to unwind. For our toddlers this may mean that we bring our toy box up onto the treatment table to keep them interested in sitting on the table. For our older children their parents may read them a book while they lie on the table, or some of them are comfortable to just have a rest and may end up falling asleep.
There are many different musculoskeletal strains that children may complain of. Some of the more common ones that we see in our practice include neck and back pain, pigeon toes, headaches, middle ear infections, growing pains and strains associated with bumps and falls.
Osteopathic Treatment May Help If Your Child Has Pigeon Toes or One Foot That is Turned In
While children mostly begin walking with their feet turned in, classic pigeon toes, it is normal to outgrow this by around 5 years old. After this time osteopathic treatment can help to decrease any tension in the muscles of the hip, knee and calf that may be contributing. In some cases it is due to the way the bones are growing and your osteopath can refer your child on for further testing if this is suspected.
Some children may have only one foot that’s pointing in. In this case, osteopathic treatment can be useful for normalising muscle tension and regaining symmetry.
Some Children Suffer From Headaches and Neck Pain Which May Need Treatment
Epidemiological studies confirm that children do suffer from headaches. Some studies found that around 10% will suffer from a migraine, and 40% of them will have a headache at some point. This is very similar statistics to adults.
Many tension type headaches originate from the neck and can benefit from osteopathic treatment. Commonly we will have children presenting to the clinic who have just started school and are noticing neck pain or headaches from sitting on the ground and looking up at their teacher, or sitting to the side of their classroom and always having to look in one direction from their desk.
Osteopathic treatment will improve the range of motion in the neck and decrease the muscle tension. This stops trigger points from referring pain into the head.
Osteopathy May Be Able To Help Your Child With Their Middle Ear Infections
There are several studies showing that osteopathy may benefit children suffering from otitis media (middle ear infections). While these are pilot studies and warrant further investigation they showed that there was better tympanic membrane (ear drum) function in the group treated osteopathically.
Otitis Media is caused by fluid which gets trapped in the eustachian tube which is a tube that runs between your ear and your throat and allows you to equalise pressure in your ear. In adults this tube runs at a nearly 45 degree angle down into the throat and this means that it drains efficiently. In children the eustachian tube runs more horizontally and so can become blocked more easily.
Medically this condition has been shown to not respond to antibiotics and instead your child is best helped with panadol initially and antibiotics only if they don’t get over their nasal infection. This is where osteopathy works well in conjunction. We work to gently release any tension in the child’s neck and throat so that when they swallow their eustachian tube is able to open and drain more effectively.
Sometimes Kids Just Fall Over and Hurt Themselves
All parents know that some kids are just more prone to hurting themselves. Whether it’s because they naturally climb everything they can get their feet onto or because they are more clumsy than other children, any child who has a big fall may potentially cause themselves some strain.
We generally see children who are complaining of pain after a fall and will work with their bodies to decrease any excessive muscle tension and unwind any joint strain.