Babies and Children

Many people believe babies and children are too young and pliable to suffer from structural stresses and strains but in reality, they may. Difficult births and assisted deliveries (eg forceps) may contribute to tension in babies, while children may develop restrictions from accidents, falls, or neck and back pain from use of devices. Other issues faced by children include posture problems, inflammatory conditions and sporting injuries.

Osteopathy recognises the particular stresses on the body that children experience as they grow from babies to teenagers and has developed an approach to work with children of all ages.

An Osteopath will work with you and your child to plan the best way forward. The Osteopath will take a complete medical history, conduct an examination and ask you and your child (where age appropriate) questions. Your Osteopath and you can determine which type of Osteopathic treatment is most appropriate and if referrals to other health practioners are needed. Your Osteopath can also offer advice on general nutrition and health, posture and exercise.

For children, Osteopathic treatment may assist with:

  • Back pain and headaches
  • Growing pains in muscles, bones and joints
  • Postural problems
  • Sporting injuries
  • The physical effects of cerebral palsy
  • Mechanical restrictions associated with asthma


Osteopathic treatment uses a large range of techniques depending on the patient and their complaint. With babies, Osteopaths use light touch on the body or head and work with the tissues with the aim to resolve any restriction in how the these tissues function.

Osteopaths will commonly see babies for issues such as:

  • Torticollis (where the head is twisted to one side. which may contribute to flat spots developing on the skull)
  • Feeding issues where mechanical restrictions may affect the baby's ability to open their mouth or produce a coordinated suck action.
  • Irritability and difficult settling which may be related to physical tensions
  • Recurrent ear infections which may be related to mechanical stresses affecting drainage from the middle ear predisposing to infections forming.

While there is some research (see our research page) indicating the benefits of manual or Osteopathic treatment for babies and children, further large scale research still needs to be conducted.

Should you wish to discuss our rationale to the treatment of babies and children please feel free to contact us.



Recurrent ear infections:

Steele KM, Carreiro JE, Viola JH, Conte JA, Ridpath LC.

Published in the Journal of American Osteopathic Association

A standardized osteopathic manipulative treatment protocol administered adjunctively with standard care for patients with acute otitis media may result in faster resolution of middle ear effusion following acute otitis media than standard treatment alone.

Mills MV, Henley CE, Barnes LL, Carreiro JE, Degenhardt BF.

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2003 Sep;157(9):861-6

The results of this study suggest a potential benefit of osteopathic manipulative treatment as adjuvant therapy in children with recurrent AOM; it may prevent or decrease surgical intervention or antibiotic overuse.


  1. Andreson, C. Bahr, C. Ciranna- Raab

IJOM 16 (2), June 2013, 99-113

In this systematic review, osteopathy and other manual therapy approaches are tested in dental malocclusion. Evidence collected suggests osteopathy assisted realignment over alternative forms of manual therapy.