How Physiotherapy can treat plagiocephaly
What is Plagiocephaly?
Positional or deformational plagiocephaly is a deformation of the bones of the skull resulting in asymmetry or flattening of the head. Plagiocephaly, commonly known as flat-head syndrome, is a common infant condition affecting up to 20% of infants.
While many cases of plagiocephaly resolve by the age of 4 years old, physiotherapy treatment has been shown to be helpful in treating this condition.
How can physiotherapy help?
A physiotherapist trained in this pediatric condition can assess the severity of the issue, and through a careful interview with the child’s caregivers, determine what factors may have contributed to the plagiocephaly, and what changes can be made to help encourage proper growth and development. A physiotherapist can also assess for associated conditions like torticollis, which often occur in conjunction with a flattening of the head.
Your physiotherapist will give you careful advice on positioning for sleep, play and feeding to help minimize pressure on specific areas of your baby’s head. They will also help teach appropriate tummy time strategies for your baby depending on their age and ability, and teach the child’s caregivers age-appropriate exercises and games to help your child’s condition improve.
Will my child get better?
As the child grows, and their caregivers put into place the right strategies to improve their condition, yes, plagiocephaly will improve! Most children “grow out” of plagiocephaly by 2 years of age¹. Physiotherapy treatment can help improve an existing plagiocephaly, and can also prevent this condition from worsening.
When to seek help
In an infant population, early intervention is key! If you are concerned that your child may be developing a flat head, don’t hesitate to contact us for an assessment. Taking the right steps early can help a problem like plagiocephaly improve quickly, using a gentle, development-based approach.
1.Hutchison BL, Hutchison LA, Thompson JM, Mitchell EA. Plagiocephaly and brachycephaly in the first two years of life: A prospective cohort study. Pediatrics 2004;114:970-80.