Misshapen heads

Approximately one third of osteopathic consultation for babies is for misshapen heads - (plagiocephaly). The head may be flat at the back or on one side.  This occurs early on in the baby’s development and may be present from before birth.

Reasons for the shape change to take place are:
  • The baby is held in a fixed position in utero - under the ribs for example with a breech baby and thereby growth is restricted to the shape available.
  • When there is a family history
  • The baby has a strain in its neck and is unable to turn its head equally both ways.  This results in the baby persistently lying on either the back of the head or on one side causing a flattening on that side

Early osteopathic intervention to free the neck will allow the baby to sleep on both sides and help the shape to revert back to normal. It is important to seek treatment as soon as the flattening is noticed as treatment started after four months is not as successful and does take longer to achieve results.  We also give simple exercises for the parent to do at home to improve the flexibility of the baby's neck.

Research shows that most babies head shape will return to normal however there is a small percentage when this does not happen.  There are also some studies which show that children with misshappen heads may require extra help at school.  It is not know if the head shape causes the developmental problems or the problem in the brain caused the head to grow into that shape.  


Jill and Chris were both trained in the U.K and started Osteoworks back in 2004 when they moved to N.Z from London with their son.