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Tag: torticollis

baby helmet

Helmet Heads!

Helmet Heads!  Shaping Baby Inside and Out

Putting your baby in a helmet is a difficult decision for parents to make, but more often parents are choosing to put one on their baby. Are helmets necessary and why are so many babies wearing them? An explanation of why, when and how little melons are getting shaped by helmets. 

A Helmet is Not Just For Vanity!

The Cranial Orthosis (CRO) or helmet does help your baby look their best by giving them a more symmetrical head, eyes, ears and even jaw. But, the CRO does so much more than making pretty babies! The skull holds and protects our baby’s most important organ, the brain. When the skull is misaligned, so is the brain. The helmet allows the skull to serve and protect allowing for the best position and shape for optimal neurological development. Sensory input from the outside world is organized in the brain. For example, if the eyes are misaligned this fires misinformation to the brain which is also misaligned and that is less than ideal for our baby’s development. 

Why is Head Shape Important? 

 A baby’s face, ears, eyes, mouth and head should look symmetrical on both sides. Asymmetry caused by a head tilt (torticollis) or any other asymmetry noted on a baby’s noggin should be evaluated by a pediatric physical therapist. These small asymmetries now can cause big delays later. Gross and fine motor milestones and other coordination skills can be affected down the line, like playing sports, playing instruments or keeping up with their peers. 

 

What is Plagiocephaly and What Causes It?

Plagiocephaly is a term to describe a misaligned head shape. Other names used are brachycephaly and scaphocephaly. Each of these terms describes a particular head shape deficit which is a flattening on one or more sides of the head. Sometimes a bulge is present as bones pushed on one side will cause a protrusion to another. 

There are many known and unknown factors that can cause a misalignment of cranial bone plates. Here are some known reasons: 

  1. Lack of Tummy Time: Back to sleep and tummy to play! Tummy time will reduce the risk of flat spots.
  2. Torticollis: A preference to turn to one side can cause a flat spot. Increased tummy time is recommended for torticollis.  
  3. Sleep Preference: “Back to sleep” campaign to reduce Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) has been successful at saving lives but has caused an increase in flat heads. 
  4. Containers: Too much time in car seats, bouncy seats, or other soft bottom containers restrict babies ability to turn and move naturally.
  5. Medical Conditions: Premature or medically fragile infants required to spend more time in certain positions early on for their safety.  
  6. Multiples or Intrauterine Constraint: Inability to move in the mother’s womb can cause muscle imbalances during development.  

When Is the Best Time to Get a Helmet?

Baby’s head doubles in size within the first year! Ideally, it is recommended that a baby has a helmet between 3-6 months of age. Sometimes it is recommended earlier than 3 months depending on the child. Typically, the earlier the helmet goes on the less time they have to wear it due to the speed of head growth in the first few months. A helmet may not be recommended after 12 months because the head growth slows down which in turn slows down the changes the helmet can make. Physical Therapy is recommended before, during and after helmet treatment for exercises, positional changes and stretches can improve asymmetries and progress motor skills. 

Parents Don’t Regret Getting a Helmet but Do Regret Not Getting One

This is a common phrase physical therapists hear from parents. Parents often forget their baby had a helmet until they look at old pictures because it is on and off so fast. Baby helmets have a small window of opportunity to make big changes that will last a lifetime!

Be sure to ask your PT who they recommend to evaluate and be fitted for a custom cranial orthosis. Schedule a free screening with a physical therapist at BDI Playhouse if you have any questions about the shape of your baby’s head!  

Written By: Dana Bukala, PTA

 

Fixing a Flat (baby head): What is Plagiocephaly and what can I do to correct it?

What is Plagiocephaly (pronounced play-jee-oh-sef-uh-lee)?

Sometimes infants are born with or develop plagiocephaly or brachycephaly, a flat spot on the back or backside of their heads that is noticeable and may raise questions or be a cause of concern. 

Understandably, you may ask:

  • Will my baby’s head shape stay like this?  
  • Is there anything I can do to prevent or fix this?  
  • Will this affect my baby’s brain growth or development?

In the early 90’s the American Academy of Pediatrics advised parents to put babies to sleep on their backs to reduce the risk of SIDS.  This increased the time spent with increased pressure on the baby’s head from the surfaces they rested on. This also increased the incidence of plagiocephaly (a.k.a. “flat head syndrome”).  In addition, there are dozens of baby positioning “containers” such as infant car seats, swings, and bouncy chairs that keep babies resting for longer periods on the back of their heads. Flat spots can make it challenging for babies to keep their heads in midline and they can develop a preference to turn or face toward a particular side.  These babies may be resistant to or even refuse tummy time because lifting their little heads up against gravity can seem difficult and stressful. Although this will not typically cause problems with brain development, babies that have a flat spot may experience movement preferences to one side, may not latch on for nursing as well as expected, will experience reflux or digestive issues, and may be extra fussy, colicky or more difficult to calm.  

How can I tell if my baby has a flat spot?

No two babies have the same head shape but asymmetries or flat spots are usually easy to detect if you know what to look for. Most areas will round or even out as a baby moves her head side to side, up and down, and begins to roll over in the first few months.  Take a look at the baby’s head in several positions. If Baby has a lot of hair it is good to do this while the hair is wet, such as after a bath.  

  • Look at your baby “face to face.”  Are both eyes the same size or is one wider or narrower than the other? Is one cheek puffier than the other? Does the back of his head appear unusually wide or does the head slant sharply upward from his forehead to the back of the head? Do you notice that one ear is higher or in front of the ear on the other side?  
  • Look at the baby’s head shape from behind while supporting him in sitting.  This is often the first place a flat spot is detected. Are the ears level? Does the head tilt to one side? Is the top of the head very wide compared to the area just above the neck?  
  • Now, look at the baby’s head from the top.  Is one side of the forehead more forward than the other? Can you see one cheek puffing out more than the other? Is one ear significantly positioned in front of the other?  
  • Finally, look at the baby’s head from the side.  Is there a slope from the forehead that rises to a point in the back?   

Notice if your baby’s head is moving freely with his body or is the head “planted” on the surface?  Is he beginning to lift his shoulders and arms off of the surface and is the baby beginning to bring hands or toys to his mouth?  Does the baby constantly only put one hand in his mouth or does he turn his head to mouth a toy instead of bringing the toy toward his middle.  When Baby is on his belly, can he lift his head easily up in the middle or does he usually turn it fully to one side or the other to lift it up.  These are all signs that there may indicate a muscle imbalance or be present as a result of the flat spot on a baby’s head. While none of these seem particularly alarming, they can keep your baby from developing movement and visual motor patterns that will advance him more naturally toward rolling, crawling, walking and gross motor play.

What Can I do if I notice a flat spot?

  • Provide lots of opportunities for Tummy time.  
  • Limit time in baby carriers, car seats, bouncers, swings, and containers
  • Carry baby when you can but change positions often to keep hips healthy
  • Alternate the ends of the crib for sleeping so baby will face stimulating sights or light during waking times
  • Provide visual stimulation in front of the baby that moves side to side 
  • Consult your pediatrician or a pediatric physical therapist if a flat spot persists for more than a few weeks.  A baby’s head shape can change quickly from birth to 6 months.  

What if the flat spot won’t go away?

If your baby’s head is held unusually still, he has a distinct head-side or position preference, he is having difficulty nursing, bottle feeding is stressful, or he is resisting positions like tummy time contact your pediatrician or a pediatric physical therapist who specializes in treating infants.  It is best not to take a “wait and see” approach because most of a baby’s head growth happens between birth and 6-8 months and this is the best time to make big changes in head shape and mobility.  Most consultations are free and professionals can offer advice and solutions that can help you and your baby.  

BDI Playhouse Children’s Therapy offers free screenings and consultations through Telehealth or at one of our child-friendly therapy gyms in Orland Park and Aurora, IL

Written by Sheri Ireland-Berk, PT
Physical Therapist

 

Aqua Therapy

Pediatric Aqua Therapy

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Aqua Therapy Questions?

Give us a call anytime at (708)478-1820 or schedule a free screening or consultation below.

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What is Aqua Therapy?

Aqua Therapy is a fun way to develop your child’s motor skills! The unique properties of water enhance therapeutic activities. The use of water in therapy can:

  • Provide a reduced gravity environment to help children explore and practice movements
  • Develop skills they are not yet able to perform on land
  • Provide resistance to active movement through all planes of motion
  • Facilitate gains in strength for all major muscle groups.
  • Increase tactile, vestibular, and proprioceptive input that enhances body awareness and motor learning

Benefits of Aqua Therapy?

  • Increase in mobility and range of motion
  • Balance and coordination
  • Increase in trunk stability and postural alignment
  • Perceptual and spatial awareness
  • Muscular strength and endurance
  • Joint mobility
  • Muscle flexibility
  • Head & trunk control
  • Blood supply to muscles
  • Attention span & sensory motor integration
  • Respiratory rate
  • Circulation
  • Symmetry, strength and endurance
  • Decrease in pain
  • Decrease in muscle spasms
  • Decrease in abnormal tone and rigid muscles
  • Decrease in joint compression
  • Stress and tension release
  • The psychological benefits include improved self esteem, confidence, and motivation!

Your Aqua Therapists

BDI Playhouse Children’s Therapy’s aqua therapists are licensed physical and occupational therapists with experience in aquatic pediatric therapy. They have attended aquatic therapy courses, and have received certificates in Water Safety and CPR. They utilize aquatic and landbased techniques, including myofascial release, neuro-developmental treatment, sensory motor integration and functional motor skills in their treatment sessions with children who have orthopedic, neurologic and/or sensory motor challenges.

Aqua Therapy Locations and Materials

What do I need to bring to my child’s Aqua Therapy session?

  • Towels
  • Lock for locker (optional)
  • Bottle of water
  • Water diapers or rubber pants (for incontinence)
  • Non-skid slippers or water shoes

Locations:

Getting Started With Aquatic Therapy

Find answers here

Still not sure? Schedule a free consultation here

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Great Feedback from Great Families

Our son received physical therapy both in the office and in the pool for his torticollis. While we were incredibly happy to have our son ‘graduate,’ we were also so sad to say goodbye to our amazing physical therapist. She was dedicated, thorough, and caring; we are so grateful for this positive experience!”

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Physical Therapy

Pediatric Physical Therapy

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Questions about Physical Therapy? 

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708-478-1820

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BDI Pediatric Physical Therapy

Pediatric physical therapy is for more than just injury rehab or treatment of a diagnosed motor condition. Many children need short term Physical Therapy to address minor challenges or concerns noted by parents. A diagnosis is not required or necessary.

Casting for Pediatric Orthotics

Physical Therapy can help with

  • Infant head shape: flat spots or other differences
  • Bladder and Bowel Training
  • Gross motor development
  • Milestones related to walking, sitting, crawling
  • Sports Performance
  • Scoliosis Intervention
  • Bike Riding
  • Difficulties in Gym and Physical Education Class
  • Muscle strengthening
  • Posture / postural control
  • Pre-gait and gait training
  • Neuromuscular function
  • Environmental adaptations / seating and positioning
  • Splinting / bracing / orthotics
  • Improving endurance
  • Coordination of movements
  • Balance training
  • Family education

If your child does have a diagnosed condition

If your child does have a diagnosed condition, you can feel confident in our collaborative team approach that brings multiple specialties together to address the whole picture and make sure nothing falls through the cracks.  Our therapists have a high commitment to continuing education and stay in tune with the latest research-proven methods for the treatment of:

  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Spina Bifida
  • Down Syndrome
  • Sports injuries
  • Scoliosis
  • Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Torticollis
  • Brachial Plexus injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Decreased coordination
  • Incontinence
  • Various other motor conditions

Reflex

Physical therapists assist children in reaching their fullest potential in functional independence and fitness.

Innovative programs are aimed at:

  • Enhancing strength, coordination and balance
  • Physical fitness
  • Wellness for optimal quality of life

If you have questions or concerns, a free 30 minute screening with a Pediatric PT is a GREAT place to start. Our therapists work with children with or without a diagnosis.

Schedule a screening

A-Z of our PT Services

A

Adaptive Sports

Aquatic Therapy

B

Balance

Ball Skills

Bike Riding

Bilateral Coordination

Biofeedback

Bowel and Bladder Dysfunction

C

Coordination 

D

Developmental Screening

Dynamic Serial Casting

E

Early Intervention

Environmental Adaptations

F

Family Education

G

Gait Training

Gross Motor Skills

H

Health Promotion

Head Shape

Home Exercise Program

I

Incontinence Training

Infant Massage

Intensive therapy

K

Kinesiology Taping

M

Motor Learning

Myofascial Release

N

Neurodevelopmental Therapy (NDT)

O

Orthotic Assessment and Training

P

Pelvic Floor Education

Positioning to assist with feeding

Postural Awareness and Training

Prosthetic Training

R

Reflex Integration

S

Scoliosis

Schroth Therapy

Serial Casting

Sports Injury Recovery

Strengthening

T

Toe Walking

Total Motion Release (TMR)

Torticollis

V

Visual Motor

W

Wheelchair Assessments

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Great Feedback from Great Families

My son Jayden is 11 and has been coming to BDI for the past 4 years. BDI has become family in the way they treat my son. I truly feel deep in my heart if it wasn’t for his PT my son wouldn’t be walking the way he is today. BDI hires only the BEST. Every child here is treated with respect and love and each parent is respected and appreciated for their role in their child’s treatment plan.”

Getting Started With Physical Therapy

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Still not sure? Learn more about whether your child needs therapy here


https://totalmotionrelease.com/tmrhome
https://www.bedwettingandaccidents.com/find-a-provider


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