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What is Plagiocephaly, Causes and Chiropractic Treatment

Posted in About Upper Cervical Chiropractic on Dec 21, 2018

What is Plagiocephaly? Plagiocephaly is the technical term used by medical professionals for a misshapen head. It is also known as a flat head syndrome.  In this article, we will discuss plagiocephaly symptoms, plagiocephaly treatment, plagiocephaly causes and Blair Upper Cervical Chiropractic’s role in plagiocephaly’s treatment.

 A study published in 2013 in pediatrics found that 46 percent of pediatric cases studied had some form of plagiocephaly.  Plagiocephaly, like most conditions, has a spectrum of severity.  

Some children have mild plagiocephaly while others can have severe cranial distortions. Plagiocephaly only becomes a concern when there are gross asymmetries in the child’s head.  In the article that follows we would like to discuss the underlying causes of plagiocephaly and then offer some tips that newborn parents can use to avoid having a child with plagiocephaly. 

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Also, if you have a child with severe plagiocephaly we would like to offer some ideas that may help your child recover from its underlying cause. We hope that this article, what is plagiocephaly, helps those in need and looking for natural health care solutions.

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Plagiocephaly Symptoms- What is Plagiocephaly

Plagiocephaly symptoms are exhibited by a flat head, flat back right side of the head or flat left backside of the head.

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Types of Plagiocephaly-What is Plagiocephaly?

Some plagiocephaly is the result of a persistent sleeping posture. In the first two months of life, the average infant spends 18 hours a day sleeping. While sleeping on the back has decreased the SIDS rate it has increased the incidents of plagiocephaly.

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Deformation Plagiocephaly-What is Plagiocephaly?

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In deformation plagiocephaly infants can exhibit the following symptoms:

  • Flattening on one side of the back of the head.
  • Ear pushed forward on the same side of the head.
  • Head tilted to one side.
  • Bulging forehead on the same side of the head.
  • Facial abnormalities including uneven cheekbones, eye sockets, or lower jaw.

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Positional plagiocephaly

The risk of positional plagiocephaly can be reduced through a few simple measures: 

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  • Provide an infant with plenty of supervised playtime on his or her tummy. This helps build and strengthen neck, shoulder and arm muscles. 
  • Change the direction that the baby is lying in the crib on a regular basis to ensure he or she is not always resting on the same part of the head. 
  • Avoid too much time in car seats, carriers, and bouncers while the baby is awake. 
  • Change the location of the baby’s crib in the room so that he or she has to look in different directions to see the door or the window.
  • If there is an element of torticollis (neck stiffness) this will also require Blair Upper Cervical Care in order to correct the underlying cervical spine problem.



Physiological Causes of Plagiocephaly-What is plagiocephaly

It is this author's opinion that severe plagiocephaly can be caused by an upper cervical spine injury. In other articles we have written, we have discussed the forces involved in forceps deliveries and vacuum extraction deliveries. 

These types of deliveries, while often necessary, produce forces of upwards 50 pounds on the cervical spine of a pediatric infant.  These types of forces can cause spinal misalignment at the base of the skull. 

The brainstem, housed by the first and second cervical vertebrae, is responsible for postural muscle tone. Also, the muscles overlying the head and neck are controlled by the brainstem. Many cases of severe plagiocephaly may result in form upper cervical spine trauma. 

This, in turn, causes severe muscle spasm in the neck and skull muscles. If the muscle tone is asymmetrical, the muscles are tighter on one side compared to the other, this can restrict cranial development and result in cranial malformation. In cases of severe plagiocephaly, it is advised that these children be checked by a qualified Blair Upper Cervical Chiropractor to asses whether or not the upper cervical spine is involved in the cause of this syndrome.

One other syndrome that can be correlated to severe plagiocephaly is plagiocephaly torticollis. Torticollis is a condition in which the muscles of the neck are pulling severely in an asymmetric fashion that pulls the head toward one shoulder and simultaneously is rotated to the left or right. 

Because both of these conditions are caused by an underlying muscle tone imbalance it is necessary to examined by an upper cervical chiropractor to determine whether prior neck injury is a cause or contributing factor in its development.



What is Blair Upper Cervical Chiropractic? -What is Plagiocephaly?

What exactly does an upper cervical chiropractor do? Blair upper cervical chiropractors are specially trained to locate and correct structural misalignments in the upper cervical spine. While the goal of Blair Upper Cervical care is not to treat symptoms one side benefit of removing nerve interference is many conditions related to muscle tone imbalances resolve. Since the postural centers are located in the brainstem, it is paramount that this area of the spine not be compromised by prior neck injury. 

Blair Upper Cervical Chiropractors take precise imaging in the form of cone beam computed tomography (CBCT) or digital x-ray to determine the exact direction of joint misalignment. This works because the joints in the neck are mirror images of one another.  

Therefore, if a whiplash or other injury damages the soft tissue and ligaments that support the normal joint motion, and the joints become misaligned imaging each individual joint allows the doctor to see how you are out of alignment and the angulation of your joints. 

This information is then used to make a precise spinal correction unique to the individual's misalignment and anatomy. Once corrected, the patient is then monitored overtime to ensure that the body is healing, and the correction is staying in its normal range of motion.

 If on subsequent visits the vertebrae have misaligned another correction is administered. If the objective tests indicate that there is no interference and the vertebrae are in their proper range of motion, then no correction is necessary.

 By monitoring a patient over time, and allowing the central nervous system to function normally, torticollis, plagiocephaly and other health conditions can recover under the body’s own control. We hope we have answered the question of what is plagiocephaly and have offered some insights that are not generally presented in mainstream medicine.

We hope this article about- What is Plagiocephaly was helpful and will improve someone’s life who acts on it.



Resources:

What is a plagiocephaly-Chiropractic cohort study