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The Importance of Cranial Care In The Newborn

The Importance of Cranial Care In The Newborn

The simple fact of the matter is that we all come into this world “injured”. It’s the degree of injury that sets the stage for our future health status. The “injury” that I speak of is the effect that birthing has on the structure of the newborn cranium, or more commonly known as, the skull.

Many of my patients are surprised to learn that there are 22 bones in our skull. These 22 bones fit together in a very unique manner. They are held together through the action of cranial sutures. The cranium is the only place in the body where these specialized joints are found. These joints offer a very unique type of motion to the bones of the skull. Yes, I said motion. The skull does not fuse together into one big, hard bone after it stops growing. Our skull is constantly in motion, forever expanding and contracting ever so slightly. It’s this motion, or lack thereof, that determines many aspects of our expression of health.

The 22 bones of the newborn skull are extremely soft and malleable. As such they are subject to significant degrees of stress and must adapt both during pregnancy and the labor and delivery process. Under enough force these cranial bones will commonly become misaligned. Often even the untrained eye can observe these distortions to the newborn skull. I’m sure many readers will recall the friend or family member’s baby that had a “flat spot” or “cone head”. If left uncorrected, these distortions can have life-long consequences on the infant’s health.

The skull of course protects the brain. There is a membrane surrounding the brain called the dura mater that actually dives deep into the brain dividing it into left and right as well as upper and lower portions. The dura mater attaches to the cranial bones throughout the interior of the skull and goes on to become the wrapper of the spinal cord and covers it all the way down to the sacrum, or tailbone. The purpose of the dura mater is to maintain the shape and position of the brain and spinal cord. Cranial distortion causes undue stress and torsion to both the brain and spinal cord affecting the integrity of the entire central nervous system. The central nervous system controls and coordinates all of the bodies systems. When the function of the nervous system is impaired in any way, the function of all the bodies systems can be affected to some degree.

Infants with cranial distortion patterns and resulting disorders may exhibit symptoms of colic, restlessness, irritability, disturbed sleep patterns, reflux, difficulty nursing, constipation, compromised spinal and hip alignment and a compromised immune system to name only a few.

Important to note is that the absence of symptoms does constitute good health. Symptoms can occur much later in life due to the impairment of the function of the central nervous system. The ability of the body to express its fullest potential can be impaired by these cranial distortion patterns contributing to life-long challenges to the individual’s health status.

It is for these reasons that the importance of cranial care for the newborn cannot be over emphasized. In fact, cranial care for the newborn begins with cranial care of the expecting mother. Cranial distortion patterns that the mother has carried with her all her life can have an effect on her pelvic alignment and therefore the baby’s in utero development and birth. Working with the expecting mommy can address her discomfort levels during pregnancy and also assist with easing delivery. An easier delivery process minimizes the trauma the infant experiences during the birthing process and reduces the likelihood of significant cranial distortion being introduced.

Chiropractors specializing in pediatric and pre-natal care such as myself are trained in the identification and correction of cranial distortion patterns. By correcting these cranial distortions as early as possible in life, it is quite possible to change the course of a child’s future health.

What an honor to be a part of that. I really love what I do!

Special thanks to my mentor Dr. Robert Boyd, the doctor who instructed and continues to instruct me in the practice of Bio Cranial Therapy.

Dr. Donohoe’s office is in Murrieta. He can be contacted at 951-677-6500. His website can be found at

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