20 June 2013

Positional Plagiocephaly: Part I

We have been struggling with Palmer’s Positional Plagiocephaly for a few months now.  Positional Plagiocephaly is that flattening of the head due to positioning of the head, whether in utero or after birth. Palmer’s started after birth. A combination of decreased neck muscle strength and torticollis (tightness of neck muscles on one side of neck making it difficult to turn head opposite way) and being premature (therefore having softer bone structure) is likely the cause of her Plagiocephaly. They say Plagio is strictly cosmetic and there is no need to worry about any type of brain or head development issues.
I can’t recall exactly when we started to notice it, but I know it was around 2 months because the public health nurse made a mention of it. We started seeing a physiotherapist about it but it wasn’t really what I expected. There were no exercises being done by her (I thought she would try doing some neck ROM exercises or something to loosen up the muscles). Instead, she was just giving us suggestions of things we could be doing at home – which I was already doing. Her main ideas were:
-          Keep her off her head (no kidding?)
-          Try to do side play and side sleeping for naps on a hard surface (how well do you like to sleep on a hardwood floor?)
So, as you can see, her main suggestions were things anyone could figure out.  So our last appointment with her was Monday. We have now started something called Craniosacral Therapy (CST) and Chiropractic work. CST an alternate therapy that focuses on regulating the flow of cerebrospinal fluid by using gentle touch and massage to manipulate the joints of the skill. After doing some research about it (and one of the girls from my Baby Group suggested it as her mom is a Craniosacral therapist) we thought we would give it a try. There is nothing more that can be done until Palmer is 6 months anyways, when the next step would be to wear a helmet (which we are strongly trying to avoid due to cost and really, who wants their kid wearing a helmet 23 hours a day??)
So, we have had one treatment of the craniosacral therapy and I have already noticed a difference in Palmer's neck strength. She still favors looking left but I notice she is able to more easily turn her head to the right and when she sleeps now, it’s not always pointed left either! Huge steps! So, we are going to give this a try for awhile and see how we do. If we decide to go the helmet route, its best to get one on around 6 months because the bones are still malleable. 
April 26, 2013

June 17, 2013.
I think it has gotten slightly worse over time due to the fact she
is sleeping 10-12 hours at a time and she is lying on the flat spot nearly the whole time.

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