Osteopathy, Babies and Children

Keeping your child healthy. Every parent’s priority is to provide the best environment to support their child’s health as they develop and grow.

Osteopathic practice is safe and effective. Research has shown that people trust their osteopath and are extremely satisfied by their experience of osteopathic care*.  This provides parents confidence in the level of care their children can expect to receive.

Children’s requirements differ depending on the stage of their development. As they grow from infants, toddlers, children to teenagers, your osteopath will consider your child’s individual needs, age and stage of development, and adapt their advice and treatment accordingly.

How can your osteopath help?

Parents visit osteopaths for a range of reasons to support their child’s health.

Children, like adults, can be affected by general joint and muscle issues, which is one of the reasons people often visit an osteopath. Parents will also take their children to visit an osteopath for a variety of other health reasons which may benefit from osteopathic care.

As osteopathic care is based on the individual needs of the patient, it will vary depending on your child’s age and the diagnosis.

Osteopaths generally use a wide range of gentle hands-on techniques that focus on releasing tension, improving mobility and optimising function. This is often used together with exercise and helpful advice.

Some osteopaths have been trained in very gentle techniques which are particularly suitable to assess and treat very young children, including new-borns.

You do not need to consult your GP before you visit an osteopath, although you may wish to do so.

Problems your osteopath can help with

Osteopathic treatment using the cranial approach is gentle, safe and effective for babies and children. The Osteopath encourages the release of tension and stresses in the body. This is done with very specific, skilled, light pressure applied where necessary to assist the natural ability of the body to release stresses and tensions.

Cranial osteopathy is offered to babies to help overcome the powerful process of birth as they pass down the birth canal. Birth strains from labour, forceps and ventouse assisted deliveries often cause compression of the skull in a baby or child. This can manifest as problems such as feeding difficulties, sleeping disturbances, irritable babies with colic and reflux, glue ear and unusual head shape.

Osteopathic treatment can also be of great benefit in helping premature babies; both during their early and most vulnerable time, and as they grow later on. A baby is never too young to be treated and cranial osteopathy can help children from any age group from birth to adolescence.

Children nowadays spend a lot more time in front of a screen and that can create its

own postural issues such as neck, lower back or shoulder pain.  Sporty children can also suffer from knee and hip pain either due to acute injuries in contact sports or chronic injuries and overuse syndromes in non-contact sports with sustained activities. Children suffering from asthma often have very tight accessory muscles of respiration making breathing more difficult and affecting their general posture, which in turn will cause neck and upper back pain. Scoliosis (curvature of the spine) creates multiple compensation mechanisms in the body and will result in chronic pain later in life. Osteopathy associated with exercises and Kinesio-taping can help with these problems.

What to expect when you first visit an osteopath

When you first visit an osteopath you’ll be asked about the reason you have brought your child and their medical history. For babies and young children, this may include information about their birth. All information will be treated as confidential in accordance with the standards of practice set out by the General Osteopathic Council and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Your osteopath will complete a thorough examination that will determine if osteopathic care can support your child’s health.

After this examination, your osteopath will discuss the care available and you will then jointly decide an appropriate and suitable plan, and the likely associated costs. This care plan may involve several visits and will often include relevant health advice. Your child’s treatment may begin at the first appointment

Many osteopaths work with local midwives, other health professionals and GPs.  If required, they may recommend your child be referred to another specialist health professional to ensure that your child receives the best possible care.


*96% of osteopathic patients expressed confidence in osteopathic treatment and advice (You Gov Public Perceptions survey 2015).