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): Sam and Mick
Joseph was born on 28 May 2004 by emergency 'C' section following 48 hours of non-progressive labour. His head was misshapen where he had been in the birth canal for some time, but parents Sam and Mick were told that this was very normal and would right itself in the first six weeks.
When Joseph was about ten weeks old he started showing a preference for looking to the right and also had a distinctive tilt in his head to the left. His neck muscles were not very strong - he couldn't be pulled up to sitting without considerable lagging. His head shape was becoming flatter and, from an aerial view, a parallelogram shape was beginning to form.
The health visitors assured Sam and Mick that the shape of Joseph's head would improve with time, but stressed that they should keep an eye on his neck muscles. A visit to the doctor led to a referral to a physiotherapist, and then a private consultation with a pediatrician, who diagnosed torticollis. He also stated that nothing could be done about his flat head, but recommended that Joseph be given plenty of 'tummy time' and kept from lying on the back of his head as much as possible.
With an intensive programme of stretches and physio support, Joseph's torticollis completely righted itself and he now has no neck problems. Joseph was taken to see a cranial osteopath who started improving the shape of his head, but at five months old his flat, misshapen head was still very noticeable.
Research on the internet revealed that Joseph had two conditions, both plagiocephaly and brachycephaly. Further research led to a specialist in the area of helmet therapy, who explained that Joseph's flat head had a width-to-length ratio of 95% (the normal ratio is 75%), so it was clear that his condition was quite severe. After speaking with several other parents, Sam and Mick decided to proceed with the helmet and had his head cast the same day.
Joseph had his helmet fitted on 13 December 2004. After just four weeks of problem-free wearing it was easy to see a difference, and he was expected to wear it for a further three to four months.
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