Background: Plagiocephaly is a condition that affects the shape of the skull in infants. The research has suggested that there is a growing association between plagiocephaly and developmental delay later in infancy extending into childhood. Plagiocephaly is an increasingly common condition in society which often presents to a chiropractic practice. There have been no studies prospectively investigating the outcome of chiropractic care on a group of infants with plagiocephaly.
Objectives: To observe any change in head deformation measurements in a single cohort group of infants aged 0-12 months old presenting to a chiropractic clinic and receiving chiropractic care over a course of six weeks. Setting: This single cohort observational study took place at a chiropractic teaching clinic between February and July 2015, on the south coast of England.
Methods: Infants presenting to the chiropractic clinic with the complaint of plagiocephaly were measured from the external occipital protuberance (EOP) to the anterior ear both right and left sides during their routine course of treatment. These measurements were re-examined at the end of their course of care or at six weeks after presentation, which ever occurred first.
Results: A total of 64 infants were included. The mean change in the plagiocephaly measurement was a reduction of 1.13cm ± 0.89cm, p= 0.00, 95%CI (-1.36 to -0.92cm). Overall, 20 out of the 64 participants showed a full resolution of plagiocephaly, with a final measurement below 0.4cm difference in occipital measurement side to side, which is considered normal. No adverse events were reported for any of the infants.
Conclusions: Overall, there was both a statistically and clinically significant reduction in plagiocephaly measurement for this cohort of infants after a course of chiropractic care. As this was an observational study, this cannot be interpreted as cause and effect. However, these results encourage further research, particularly a RCT to investigate the effect of chiropractic care on plagiocephaly in infants.
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