Craniopathy Therapy in Wall, NJ
One of the most under looked areas of pediatric growth and development is the proper structure and function of the cranial bones.
While chiropractors traditionally address the bones in the spine, craniopathy is the art and science of analyzing and correcting the alignment and movement of the cranial bones.
Since 80% of the central nervous system is located within the skull, correcting cranial imbalances not only creates better cranial and facial symmetry but also enhances neurological balance by promoting parasympathetic (brake pedal AKA rest & digest) function of the nervous system rather than sympathetic (gas pedal AKA fight or flight).
Often, many conditions that are not responding to spinal care alone are facilitated by the addition of cranial adjusting.
Craniopathy and the central nervous system
Conditions that can and should be managed with the addition of craniopathy include:
· Breastfeeding Challenges (especially gagging and latching issues)
· Cranial Asymmetries
· Ear Infections
· Epilepsy and Seizure Activities
· Learning Disabilities
· Traumatic Brain Injury
Dr. Anthony Pellegrino is certified in pediatric Sacro Occipital Technique and well-versed in craniopathy and the management of the above conditions and more.
What is Craniopathy?
Craniopathy is the science and art of restoring proper function to the cranium. Chiropractic craniopathy, which is different from Craniosacral Therapy, is an advanced aspect of the Sacro Occipital Technique (S.O.T.). The focus of craniopathy is the movement and position of the 22 interlinked cranial bones and their impact on the function and adaptability of the central nervous system. Cranial misalignments, or subluxations, can distort the function of the nervous system as well as create cranial and facial asymmetries such as plagiocephaly, eyes being unlevel or uneven, ears appearing rotated, and more.
Cranial adjustments involve assessing the moveable sutures of the cranium and the flow of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) between the cranium and the rest of the central nervous system. After the exact pattern of misalignment is analyzed, the doctor will apply gentle pressure to the cranial bones with the patient’s breath that will allow their “release” and reposition.
Craniopathy is especially helpful for babies and young children for many reasons. Because their cranial sutures have not fully fused, the impact of the adjustments can be massive and alter the trajectory of development for the better. Also, because 80% of the central nervous system lies in the cranium, allowing for proper function can impact growth and development.
The most common reason for cranial subluxation in a baby is difficulty in the birth process. Even a “natural” birth can cause cranial subluxations. However, the more medical intervention during the birth process, such as Pitocin, epidural, vacuum extraction, and especially C-section, the more likely a more severe cranial subluxation can be present.
In an infant, these subluxation patterns can not only affect growth and development, but can also impact the shape of the skull, the development of a child’s palate, and affect breastfeeding, latching, and more.
Craniopathy for Tongue Tie
Tongue and lip ties can drastically limit the comfort, growth, and development of infants. On the surface, a tie restricts the movement and function of the tongue and palate which can impact breastfeeding. However, underneath the surface, that tissue connects throughout the body all the way down to the toes and can impact the function of different systems including digestion.
In many cases of tongue and lip tie, chiropractic and craniopathy together can help create “slack” in the tissue and significantly improve function without the need for surgery. In more severe cases, revision by a pediatric dentist may be necessary.
If a revision is performed, chiropractic and craniopathy are always recommended for recovery. While babies often see symptomatic improvement almost immediately following a surgical revision, because that tissue connects throughout the body, a side-effect of the surgery can be instability throughout the spine and cranium both structurally and functionally.
Think about it like this. You would never want to train for a marathon with a giant rubber band tying your knees together. You would have to take very short steps and would have to work incredibly hard to train. The tongue or lip tie is like that rubber band. Cutting the rubber band really frees the body to be able to function better. However, if your body was used to functioning with the rubber band around it, it would take retraining the muscles, ligaments, and brain to be able to achieve proper running stride. Retraining the muscles, ligaments, and brain – that is what chiropractic and craniopathy do post revision.
Craniopathy for Plagiocephaly
Plagiocephaly, or flat-head syndrome, is when a baby develops a flat spot on one side of the head or on the whole back of the head. This can be for a number of different reasons. Commonly, a child may need more “tummy time” to develop the musculature on the back of the neck and cranium. Also, if a child’s neck range of motion is limited, or they prefer to turn their head one-way vs the other, it can cause a flat spot on the side of the head that is towards the floor when laying still. Both reasons, difficulty during tummy time and restricted/preferred range of motion in the neck, can be caused by spinal subluxations and should be addressed by a pediatric chiropractor before or after plagiocephaly has developed.
If the cranium is involved, chiropractic and craniopathy together can make massive changes in cranial shape. Ensuring proper tension of the internal tissue within the cranium and proper movement of cranial sutures can help redevelop proper symmetrical head shape.
Commonly, we will see a child who has been prescribed a helmet by their pediatrician to help regain head shape. Chiropractic and craniopathy can still help these children! In fact, if your child is already wearing a helmet, when under care at Absolute Chiropractic, we recommend that you tell their pediatrician that your child needs to be “remeasured” for changes to helmet shape twice as frequently (cut the time in half between visits). Because, in our experience, children under chiropractic and craniopathy care respond much more quickly than those who are not, decreasing the time between head measurements ensures that the child’s helmet is always appropriate for their head shape.