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Pediatric Chiropractic Care for Craniosynostosis

Published Date: 
November 13, 2023
Six-month-old baby receiving chiropractic care for craniosynostosis.

Babies are born with skulls that are composed of several bone plates. Over time, these plates fuse. If this occurs too quickly or not as it should, it can result in a misshapen skull. This condition is called craniosynostosis.

Unfortunately, this can cause problems that extend beyond appearance. It can put pressure on the baby’s developing brain and affect their eyesight. 

In some cases, craniosynostosis resolves independently, although surgery is often recommended. Pediatric chiropractic treatments could play a role in the healthy formation of a baby’s skull and help to correct misshapen skulls.

What Are the Signs & Symptoms of Craniosynostosis?

Most of the time, signs of craniosynostosis are noticeable at birth. However, they tend to be mild at birth and become more apparent during the first few months of the baby’s life. The condition varies in severity depending on how many plates are fused incorrectly and based on the brain development stage at fusion.

Image of a baby developing in-utero.

Symptoms of craniosynostosis include:

  • Misshapen skull
  • Development of a hard, raised ridge along the fusion point

How Serious Is Craniosynostosis?

It can be very serious, especially if it’s not treated.

It’s common for babies’ skulls to be misshapen. In most cases, it shifts into place properly as the plates fuse. However, if the plates fuse too soon or improperly, it can create problems. Left untreated, craniosynostosis can lead to:

  • Permanent misshapenness of the head and face
  • Poor self-esteem
  • Social isolation
  • Pressure on the brain
  • Developmental delay
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Seizures
  • Blindness
  • Headaches

Can Craniosynostosis Be Treated?


Mild cases of craniosynostosis usually don’t require much treatment. Rarely do mild cases need surgery. Some babies wear a helmet to help reshape their skulls. Helmet therapy might also be required following the surgery.

Infant wearing an orthopedic helmet.

Surgery is used to correct the baby’s head shape and reduce or prevent pressure on the brain. A baby’s brain needs to have appropriate space to grow.

Parents need to recognize that issues with craniosynostosis are not just related to appearance. A misshapen skull can affect a child’s development.

Craniosynostosis & Pediatric Chiropractic Care  

Chiropractors can help parents and their children deal with many common issues that arise in infancy. This includes correcting the issues linked to birth trauma.

One well-documented case study of chiropractic treatment helping a child with craniosynostosis involved a three-week-old girl. Her mother brought her to the chiropractor for treatment, and she received specific, gentle, high velocity, low-amplitude type thrust to sites of spinal subluxation along with craniosacral therapy. After six treatments, the patient’s cranial diameter measured 39.2 cm compared to 34.5 cm at birth. Long-term, her cranial development progressed, and she needed surgery.

The child’s mother stated that she’d been advised to monitor her daughter’s development for the first three months of her life. If the condition progressed, she’d need to undergo surgery.

Healthcare provider measuring infant's head.

The chiropractic exam showed the child had subluxations. Chiropractic treatments were initiated, and the shape and size of the child’s skull were recorded throughout treatment sessions. Throughout six chiropractic visits, the baby’s skull had increased in size, allowing for the healthy development of the brain.

After approximately three months of treatment, the child’s cranial development had progressed to the point that she would not need surgery.

According to the report's lead author, Dr. Joel Alcantara, “The research shows that not only is chiropractic for children extremely safe but it is also highly effective.”

This is good news for parents concerned about their child’s development. Chiropractic care is safe and non-invasive. It can be used in conjunction with other treatments but may be enough to resolve the issue in question.

Dr. Darren Faherty D.C.

In 2004, Dr. Darren Faherty graduated with a Bachelors of Science degree in Biology from UWEC - University of Wisconsin Eau Claire. Dr. Darren continued education at the highly esteemed University of Western States (formerly Western States Chiropractic College) where he obtained his chiropractic degree in 2007. He has been helping people recover from injuries and return to their normal lifestyles ever since.

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