Children and Osteopathy?
All parents know how distressing it is to have an unwell child, (it doesn't matter how old they are), and that they will go to almost any lengths to help that child get well.
It is important to remember to discuss any concerns you have with your doctor, Midwife or Health Visitor so that any medical problems are resolved. Then tell your osteopath what you expect from treatment for your child. Expectations are often far too high!
Our general policy is, if in doubt, we consult a specialist.....even when we are under pressure from parents, "to get something done", which does happen. We understand the reasons why, but we have limits to our skills and we know where they are!
The treatment is gentle. There are NO manipulations, clicks or rough movements. If in doubt, ask questions. What we try to offer is a non-threatening, non-invasive and effective therapy for some common childhood problems.
Osteopathy for Young Children
The human skull is a series of bones joined together by joints, called sutures. In babies, these joints are especially flexible and allow the babies head to adapt to the pressures of labour. After a normal delivery, these sutures settle back into a normal position.
If your baby has been through a long or very rapid delivery, or needed forceps or Ventouse assistance, then the skull may not spontaneously recover from the distortion. This stressful situation can lead to conditions such as congenital muscular torticollis, (sometimes called infantile torticollis).
The techniques used by the osteopath to ease tensions in the skull sutures are very gentle and can often bring about significant improvement in symptoms. Methods are so subtle that you may see the osteopath appear 'just to hold baby's head'.
Headache and aches and pains: As headaches and head pain are often mechanical in nature and involve the muscles of the head and neck, normal osteopathic and physiotherapy techniques can be applied to children, (although manipulation of the neck joints is avoided).
Conditions such as migraine in children must be medically investigated, as do, for example, hip problems. If in doubt, call and ask to speak to an Osteopath to see whether we believe we can help. There is nothing worse than booking a child in to see us only to be turned away as unsuitable. It does take up out time, but we would much rather discuss it with you in advance than waste both time and money, especially when you are worried about your child.
Behaviour & Developmental Problems
We do not offer treatment for asthma, growing pains, developmental delay in speech, education and physical co-ordination, behavioural problems, cerebral palsy and other types of brain damage.
In this practice, we would generally suggest that you visit the Foundation for Paediatric Osteopathy, (FPO), in London for expert advice on many of these more profound problems.
The School House, Woodbridge Street
London. EC1R 0ND
tel: 0207 490 5510
Other contact points.
The Children's Clinic, The British School Of Osteopathy. London SW1. [0171 930 9254]
The Children's Clinic, European School Of Osteopathy. Maidstone, Kent. [01622 685989]
What to Expect
Your osteopath will take a full history and examine your child. We value your input as the parent, but where old enough, we also want your child to feel relaxed enough to speak for themselves.
Some clothing will often need removing so that a full examination and movement testing can be performed accurately.
DO BRING a dummy, bottle or favourite toy, (or all three), so your child can feel as relaxed as possible. Books, 'cuddlies' or appropriate snacks to help with distraction are very useful.
How much will it cost?
The normal charge for a consultation is £42 for the initial consultation and £37for subsequent appointments [Jan 2011].
Most children require 2 or 3 treatment sessions, but this varies with the condition being treated and prior history.
Occasionally, a child may be sufficiently irritable, that treatment is not possible. Unfortunately, this appointment has to be charged for as usual.
Some insurance company schemes will cover children for osteopathic treatment but please check this first.