Medical research studies have shown that up to 39% of babies with plagiocephaly (the proper name of a misshapen head) have developmental delays with motor coordination and learning abilities, which can continue on into their school years (1,2).
Children do not ‘outgrow’ coordination developmental delays without help. (3)
This is where you MUST NOT FRET, but DO INVESTIGATE FURTHER. These studies have shown an association NOT a causal relationship between plagiocephaly and developmental and learning delays.
What this means is that a misshapen head does not equal developmental and learning delays; but rather that there is an increased risk, or likelihood, that this will occur.
The theory behind the association is that plagiocephaly is a sign that the infant may have some degree of spinal tension leading to lack of body coordination. It may also be that the child has spent too much time on their backs and not enough time on their tummy exploring and learning how to control their head movements (the first developmental milestone).
Firstly, it must be understood that the goal is to attain good motor coordination.
Proper motor coordination development creates nerve pathways that are critical for how we begin to organize our thoughts, actions and learning. (3)
The goal is not primarily to change an infant’s head shape; as doing so alone has not been shown to have a great effect on a child’s development. (1)
It is recommended to take a few steps of action to ensure your child grows to their full health potential. Prevention is best, and many of the following tips are recommended whether or not your child’s head is misshapen. Don’t fret if your baby’s development is different than your friend’s. Everyone develops at different speeds, some children may need more help and patience than others, and the following tips are a great way to aid in their progress.
If you have more questions or concerns feel free to contact our office to speak to one of our chiropractors.
Written by Dr. Nik Dukovac, Family Chiropractor.
Dr. Nik Dukovac practices in two locations:
Miller RI and Larren SK. Pediatrics. 2000 Feb; 105(2):E26. Long-term developmental outcomes in patients with deformational plagiocephaly.
Kordestani RK et. al. Plastic Reconstruction Surgery. 2006 Jan; 117(1):207-18. Neurodevelopmantal delays in children with deformational plagiocephaly.
Kirby and Sugden. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. 2007; 100: 182-186. Children with developmental coordination disorders.
Nicola Ann Douglas et. al. JOURNAL OF CLINICAL CHIROPRACTIC PEDIATRICS Volume 15, No. 3, December 2016. pp: 1274-9. Chiropractic care for the cervical spine as a treatment for plagiocephaly: a prospective cohort study.