Plagiocephaly and brachycephaly have both been successfully treated with helmets for many years. Discover some treatment success stories below – simply click a child’s name from the list on the left to view their story.
Parent(s): Tracy and Philip
Location: Brockley, London
Freya was born on 19 November 2004 weighing 6Ib 6oz and arriving three weeks early. She had been lying in a breech position up until around 36 weeks of gestation and this may be one of the main reasons for her plagiocephaly and torticollis.
When she was born, parents Tracy and Philip did not notice anything unusual about her head shape: she looked just perfect to them. At around three months they did start to notice that her head was asymmetrical, but just thought that babies' heads were often misshapen. However, at around four months a friend of the family, a homeopath, mentioned that cranial osteopathy might be able to help with Freya's 'condition'. The friend could not remember the name of it but said that she had seen several babies with similarly shaped heads.
Tracy carried out some research on the internet and came across several websites on positional plagiocephaly. Freya had the telltale 'parallelogram head shape', ear misalignment (which her parents had not noticed) and forehead bossing associated with plagiocephaly. Tracy's GP said that Freya's head would get better, but that it would take a long time, possibly around three years. A paediatric appointment was made for eight weeks later, by which time Freya would be six and a half months old.
Understandably, Tracy wanted to act as soon as possible and so contacted Headstart4Babies. She was told about two private practitioners in London who offered helmet therapy in severe cases.
Around this time, Freya's head shape was worsening and her mother began to suspect that she had severe plagiocephaly. She tried repositioning Freya for about a week or so and was up all hours of the night trying to get her to look in the opposite direction to her flat spot. However, Freya would always turn back to her favoured right-hand side soon afterwards. Tracy was distraught with worry and extremely tired. It was some relief when a private physiotherapist was able to show her some exercises to help with Freya's mild torticollis, and this has got better over time.
When the family at last saw one of the private practitioners, he confirmed that Freya had severe plagiocephaly and that her head was very asymmetric (a misalignment of 28mm). The fact that her head was so 'wonky' made the decision to have a helmet fitted easier. Tracy did have huge reservations, and she worried about Freya's development and what people would think.
Freya was cast for a helmet on the same day as the consultation and two long weeks later she had her helmet fitted. The very next day Tracy realised that wearing the helmet really did not bother Freya, and so she began to relax. She even returned to sleeping all through the night following the helmet fitting!
After just three weeks of her wearing the helmet, Freya's parents were able to see a great improvement. At the time of writing they had not yet had her head measured but, as Tracy says: "I think it is more about what the head looks like than any measurements – I am very happy so far!"
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