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Plagiocephaly Treatment
In White Plains, NY. Servicing Westchester, NY & Fairfield County, CT.

What Is Plagiocephaly?

Plagiocephaly is a flattening of one side or the back of a baby’s skull. It can occur because babies have soft skulls to enable them to pass through the birth canal. If a baby lies on the same side of their head or flat on their backs for too many hours, their soft skull can take on a flattened appearance. It is more common in premature babies because they have even softer skulls than a typical newborn.

Why Is There an Increasing Number of Babies with Plagiocephaly?

Parents are instructed to put their babies on their backs to sleep. Babies may also spend too many hours in a car seat or other type of carrier. These long durations in one position can result in a flattening to one side or the back of the head.

When a baby has Torticollis at birth, this makes them uncomfortable turning their head from one side to the other. They will instinctively begin to sleep with one side of their head pressed to the mattress. Over time, that side of the head becomes flatter, which can also affect their facial features. Early correction of both Torticollis and any resulting Plagiocephaly can restore the baby’s natural growth to their head and face.

Diagnosing Plagiocephaly

Plagiocephaly is usually identified in the first few months of life. Many parents are the first to notice that their child’s head is flatter on one side or the back. A baby may rub the hair off the side that experiences the most pressure, causing a bald spot. Pediatricians may provide this diagnosis during a well baby visit.

Sometimes it’s while we are treating a child with Torticollis at our clinic that we notice that the tightness in their neck muscles is resulting in Plagiocephaly. In that case, we can help the family schedule a consultation with one of our experts so they can access the needed services and equipment to resolve the situation. 

Correcting Plagiocephaly Early Improves Outcomes

Treatment depends on your baby’s symptoms, age and severity. The first steps in treating Plagiocephaly are turning the baby’s head position to the opposite side while on their tummy or back; maximize tummy time during awake hours and minimize the amount of time in “bucket” devices such as swings, carseats and bouncers seats. Seek Physical Therapy as early as possible by an experienced Pediatric Physical Therapist who specializes in the treatment of Torticollis and Plagiocephaly. We specialize in these treatments at Physical Therapy 4 Kids.

Physical Therapy for Plagiocephaly

We will first perform a thorough evaluation to determine the cause of Plagiocephaly. We then help the baby develop balanced strength in both sides of their upper body, and proper flexibility in their neck. We also help the child learn to reach for objects using both sides of their body and to enjoy tummy time, both in our clinic and at home.

Some babies may need to be referred to an orthotist (a specialist in fitting cranial devices) to have a cranial helmet fabricated for them. This helmet helps guide the growth of the skull so a child’s head can begin to take on a naturally rounded shape.

With Plagiocephaly, the sooner treatment can be started, the better. Learn more about Physical Therapy for Plagiocephaly.

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