Plagiocephaly: Flat Head Syndrome in Infants

Apr 1, 2019 | holistic, natural treatment

Plagiocephaly is a deformity of the skull causing asymmetrical distortions of the one or both sides of the skull. Originally believed to be only a cosmetic issue, now it is realized this structural skull problem can lead to developmental difficulties, sensory motor challenges and temporomandibular joint dysfunction.

Some early indications your child has a cranial problem?plagiocephaly flat head syndrome in infants

  • Inability or limited ability to turn head equally
  • Torticollis
  • Poor sleep patterns
  • Infantile colic
  • Ear infections
  • Repetitive vomiting after feeding
  • Strabismus or crossed eyes

Risk Factors:

  • High Intervention Birth: Forceps, vacuum extraction, cesarean section
  • Prolonged labor
  • Unusual birth positions
  • Birthing Traumas
  • Premature birth
  • Prenatal stress
  • Laying on infant on back for long periods


  • Daily tummy time/supervised belly playtime
  • Encouraging increased head and neck movement
  • Baby wearing: Reduce the amount of time your child spends lying on her back or often being in a position where the head is resting against a flat surface (such as in car seats, strollers, swings, bouncy seats, and play yards).
  • Chiropractic Care

Cranial Adjusting/Chiropractic Care:

There are twenty-two bones in the cranium. Eight of these bones protect and encircle the brain and fourteen make the bones of the face. The cranial bones do not fuse and remain separate throughout our lives. Where two bones meet is called a suture, and is a complex joint that provides sliding between bones and contain numerous blood vessels, nerve fibers, and connective tissue. At birth, these cranial bones are not fully formed so as to allow a child to pass through the birthing canal. As the infant passes through the birth canal, the bones slide over one another and re-expand afterwards to resume their normal positions. This physiologic compressibility minimizes brain damage and allows for maximum brain capacity.

During the first year of life, the brain undergoes a rapid rate of growth approximating these bones closer together but remaining in constant motion. Inhalation and exhalation cause rhythmic movement between each of the cranial bones and fluctuates the underlying cerebro-spinal fluid (CSF). This pumping mechanisms of CSF nourishes the brain and spinal cord.

With plagiocephaly the bones of the skull are moved out of their proper alignment. This causes the CSF underneath to become stagnant. Furthermore, the membranes that line the skull, the meninges, may become twisted and compressed. This in turn puts unnecessary tension on certain areas of the brain depending on which cranial bone is affected.

Chiropractic care can aid in the treatment of flat head syndrome, as well as in the prevention of it. Cranial adjusting techniques can restore alignment to the bones of the head and face through precise pressure applied by the doctor’s hands or an adjusting instrument over or near the junctions (sutures) of the bones. It is very safe and gentle for children, in fact, pressure can be as gentle as touching an avocado to see if its ripe!

Cranial adjusting therapy can also benefit those with:

  • Headaches
  • Migraines
  • Post-Concussion Syndrome
  • Learning disabilities
  • Learning difficulties
  • Behavior issues

Some other causes of cranial dysfunction area:

  • Concussions or a violent blow to the head
  • Whiplash injuries during an auto accident
  • Heading a soccer ball or repetitive impacts in football and other sports

If your infant is showing any signs listed above or if you want to proactively check your child for cranial misalignment. Contact us at (214) 972-0302.

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