Osteopathic manipulation is a natural and painless method for addressing many of the health problems of infants and children. Manipulation helps the recovery from injuries and muscle strains that occur so commonly during childhood years. Perhaps less obvious is the role of manipulation in many other disease syndromes of children.
During childbirth, pressure on the skull of the emerging infant has been measured at 27 pounds per square inch! As a result, that tiny skull will often be oddly shaped at birth. Fortunately, the skull usually returns to a normal shape by six weeks of age. However, in some children this resolution is incomplete and problems can result. Gentle manipulation is used to help the head achieve a normal shape which aids in preventing several disease conditions.
Colic, for example, is not usually treated medically since it goes away on its own after several months. However, a major nerve that controls stomach movement (the vagus nerve) can be pinched as it emerges from the base of the skull. This can lead to poor digestion and colic. Osteopathic manipulation is able to gently release the compression on the nerve allowing normal function.
Ear infections are another common example. The middle ear is normally drained by the Eustachian tube. If this becomes pinched it will not drain, and infection results. These infections are treated with antibiotics, and if the antibiotics fail, surgical placement of tubes is recommended. These tubes drain the infected material from the middle ear to the outside. However, manipulation is often able to achieve the same result naturally, by releasing any impingement on the Eustachian tubes. Once the ear is able to drain, the body's immune system can handle the infection.
Other respiratory and digestive diseases also respond to Osteopathic manipulation. Seasonal asthma can be lessened in severity by regular treatment of the upper thoracic spine, as this helps open the air tubes. Constipation responds to treatment of the lumbar spine and tailbone, since the nerves that control the colon originate in these areas.
Natural, effective and without side effects, Osteopathic manipulation is an excellent treatment option for many diseases of infancy and childhood.