Paediatric Osteopathy treatment following the birth can help ease the transition from life inside the womb to the outside world. This initial adjustment involves many bodily systems such as breathing and digestion. Stresses and strains from the labour, particularly if the process has been a very fast, slow, or if complications lead to caesarean section, can lead to unsettled behaviour and difficulties with feeding, winding, bowel movements and sleeping. Constraints in the womb during pregnancy itself can also have an impact after birth. Relieving any physical strains with gentle osteopathic treatment can be very helpful and relaxing. An initial check-up with an Osteopath after birth can help highlight any potential problems that may lead to problems later on.
The toddler years are a time of considerable cognitive, emotional and social development, when children learn to crawl, walk, run and communicate and are keen to explore their environment. The term is derived from “to toddle”, which means to walk unsteadily. It is useful to chart these early developmental milestones, and to address the effects of any physical abnormalities or developmental delays to help prevent problems arising in the future. However, an Osteopath will recognise that development exists on a continuum, with significant individual variations between children. There is a wide range of what may be considered ‘normal’ development, any physical, cognitive, social and emotional findings will be discussed with the parent so that both parties can monitor the progression.
At school-age, children are starting to acquire and master fine and gross motor skills, alongside learning to concentrate, read and write. This can be a stressful time if they are struggling to cope with any of these skills. Their general well-being may also suffer from repeated exposure to infections. An Osteopath will aim to support the child through this period of development, physcially and mentally.
This is a transitional stage of rapid physical and psychological development. Some of the issues that may arise at this age include spinal asymmetry, postural fatigue, growth related bone pain, anxiety and headaches. Regular osteopathic checks and treatment where necessary are important to ensure that these problems are addressed early and prevented from causing issues further down the line.
The osteopathic management of children at all ages is very rewarding. The aim at each stage is to ensure that every aspect of growth and development is taking place appropriately for each individual. The philosophy of an Osteopath is always that prevention is better than cure.