Young Children

We see many young children presenting with a wide range of common childhood conditions such as ear infections, digestion issues, aches and pains and circulatory problems, as well as more complex or chronic conditions. Depending on the issue, we can develop a treatment plan that will help to address the child’s specific problem






Primitive reflexes are reflex, involuntary movements that originate in the brain stem and occur without conscious control. They are present at birth and are important for survival in the first year of life, helping a baby to locate and attach to the breast, to suck and to swallow. Typically, these reflexes are inhibited by the natural development of the brain and are replaced by more mature postural reflexes. Postural reflexes control balance, coordination and sensory motor development. Sometimes primitive reflexes can be retained beyond the normal age, suggesting an immaturity of the central nervous system (CNS). Studies of school-aged children have found immature motor skills and postural instability associated with the retention of some of the primitive reflexes.

At the Children’s HOPE Center Quantum Reflex Integration is used to treat retained primitive reflexes in children of all ages. Nerve pathways are stimulated through movement and Low Level Laser Therapy. Most parents find QRI to be a cost- and time-effective way to help strengthen their child’s neurological foundations. It may be suitable for children suffering from anxiety, struggling with formal learning (including dyslexia), low muscle tone, poor balance and posture, as well as children with ADD/ADHD and ASD.


It is important to check a child who is just learning to walk. Some children experience in-toeing, knocked knees, frequent tripping and/or balance issues. When these issues are present it is important to rule out underlying physical imbalances within the pelvis, leg and foot that may be contributing to the presenting complaint.
If a child develops a limp, there are a number of conditions that an osteopath will need to rule out. Some of these conditions are minor and self-limiting; some are serious, requiring full orthopaedic review and possible surgery. A persistent limp should always be investigated. 


Children of all ages, from newborn babies through to adolescents, can suffer from sleep challenges. This can manifest as trouble falling asleep, waking multiple times and even night terrors. If the history and clinical examination indicated the presence of an upper airway obstruction (e.g. enlarged tonsils and/or adenoids) causing sleep apnea and or snoring we would refer to the relevant specialist.

Sometimes if there is underlying musculoskeletal tension from physical trauma, this can make it more difficult for children to relax in order to fall asleep or stay asleep. Osteopathic treatment may assist in improving your baby’s or child’s sleep if there is underlying physical tension.


Ear infections are the cause of more pediatric doctor visits in the first three years of life than any other medical problem. Some previously healthy children begin to have ear infections when undergoing orthodontic correction. Some children have dairy or other nutritional sensitivities which contribute to the frequency or severity of infections.

The most common predisposing factor, however, is early childhood trauma to the head, occurring either in the birth process or in early childhood injuries. Even C-section babies can be affected. When the structural restrictions caused by these traumas are resolved, the vast majority of children have a significantly reduced incidence of infection and a noticeable improvement in hearing.

The presence of fluid in the middle ear offers a hospitable environment for the growth of the organisms which cause ear infections. If the middle ear is free of fluid, ear infections are rare. Medical opinion differs on the solutions to fluid retention. The standard medical approach is to treat the infections with antibiotics. If infections persist, ear tubes are surgically placed. The Osteopathic approach is to correct the underlying problems which are impeding fluid drainage.

Why Does Fluid Accumulate?

There are two widely held theories. One is based on the premise that as gases diffuse into the blood vessels of the middle ear cavity, the resultant negative pressure allows serum to exude from the blood vessels into the middle ear cavity. The second theory proposes that the fluid in the middle ear cavity is a product of an inflammatory process of the mucous membranes. An osteopathic theory concerns the excess fluid which can accumulate in the back of children’s throats during teething, a common cold or from nursing or drinking a bottle while lying down. This fluid lies close to the opening of the eustachian tube which drains and ventilates the middle ear. When fluid remains present in the back of the throat, it may make its way, via the eustachian tube, into the middle ear cavity. Once there, it has a tendency to stay. Swelling of the mucous membranes worsens the problem by blocking the eustachian tube. The resultant loss of atmospheric air pressure in the middle ear compounds the problem.

Unfortunately, anatomy is no friend to this situation before about age four. The beautiful, round baby faces of infants and toddlers are associated with a eustachian tube which is nearly horizontal. Around age four or so, a child gains more vertical dimension in the face, and gravity can help in drainage. If one waited until the age of four or more, many children would literally outgrow the problem. However, the risks of more serious infections, the side-effects of prolonged antibiotic use and the risk of poor language development due to poor hearing make this an unacceptable solution.

How Can Osteopathy Help?

The small amount of motion present in the joint lines and membrane structures of the cranium (skull) has been well documented in Osteopathic and other scientific sources. As the temporal bones of the cranium move in a normal manner, they assist the drainage of fluid through the eustachian tubes to the back of the throat. This normal mobility can be disturbed as a result of birth trauma or early childhood injuries. Osteopathic manipulative techniques can restore normal motion of the temporal bones as well as the whole cranial mechanism, and thus improve fluid drainage from the middle ear. If fluid is not present, ear infections are rare. Manipulative treatment also facilitates lymphatic drainage in the
neck and chest and can improve arterial blood supply and venous drainage. Through assisting the immune system in this way, the improved overall health of the body also helps prevent future infections.

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