27 Jan What is Plagiocephaly?
Plagiocephaly is a condition that impacts newborns through to babies approximately 8 months of age. It is sometimes known as flat head syndrome. Babies are born with softened heads; this means that if they spend too much time lying on one side of their head it can actually form a flat spot.
Flat spots are often caused by babies sleeping positions. They can also be a secondary result of something called torticollis. Torticollis is tightness in the neck musculature that causes babies restricted neck range of motion meaning they often only look to one side. Unfortunately, babies’ born prematurely often have softer heads meaning they are more at risk.
Things to look out for in your children include:
- Misshapen heads when looking from the top
- Asymmetry in fascial features
- One ear appears further forward then the other ear
- Often there is less hair on the flat spot
- Head tilted off to one side (A sign of torticollis)
What can be done to help?
The main treatment is to prevent weight bearing through the affected side of the baby’s head. An appointment with your physiotherapist can help determine which treatment approach is best for your individual circumstances.
Some strategies could include:
- Placing toys so your baby is looking in the direction opposite to the flat spot
- Tummy time – Tummy time is great as your child will be wanting to push up through their arms and this helps to offload the head!
- Turn your cot so the way the baby will look to the door offloads their flat spot
- Use a towel next to head to stop them from turning and bearing weight through the flat spot – it is important to note this needs to be supervised due to risk of suffocation
Other management may include physiotherapy to manage any torticollis symptoms if relevant. A further option is the use of helmets to help reshape heads. This treatment is usually only reserved for the more severe cases.
Please do not hesitate to contact us at Western Paediatric Physiotherapy if you have any questions or concerns!