New-born babies have their ways of learning and grasping actions. Initially, babies need a lot of support during the first few months to build strength and execute controlled body actions.
Infants need to gain enough strength to hold and control their heads/neck. Once the required level of head control is achieved, it establishes a foundation for other body movements.
But some infants face difficulty in building enough head/neck control. There’s when physiotherapy comes to the rescue of these little angels.
Let us understand how physiotherapy helps in infant neck control and the time it takes:
1. The number of days/months after physiotherapy required for achieving fair neck control in babies can vary. Because the ability to grasp strength and actions differs for every baby.
2. The developmental milestones for every infant depend on their health when they were born. Generally, babies need at least 6 months to have good neck control. At 3 months, they can hold their heads when supported to sit.
3. When infants fail to have this, physiotherapy can help boost the development process. Physiotherapy is known for its strengthening and rehabilitation exercises and indeed it works on all from babies to the aged.
4. Babies facing reduced neck control find it hard to hold their head upright and turn it sideways. This restriction of movement can complicate as the baby grows.
5. The reasons for reduced neck control are:
- Developmental Delay
- Weakness in neck muscle
- Reduced Motor Control
6. Symptoms of reduced neck control are:
- Baby is unable to support their head
- Baby struggles to turn their head/neck
- Baby has trouble in changing directions of head
7. Physiotherapy for reduced neck control consists of various physical exercises that can improve the strength of neck muscles.
8. Some of them include:
- Sensory Integration Techniques: Sensory feedback, stimulation, and proper posture are the keys to having fair neck control.
- Neck Muscle Strengthening Exercises: Building strength via neck strengthening exercises are helpful for neck control. In these exercises, the head of the baby is tilted sideways and held for 5-10 seconds. It is repeated for both sides.
- Neck Muscle Stretching Exercises: Stretching the neck improves the flexibility which in turn, supports twisting of the head sideways. Neck Stretching exercises have the baby laid on their back and his/her left shoulder is gently pulled down. Simultaneously, the right ear of the baby is brought to the right shoulder. This creates a stretch in the neck.
- Tummy Time: This exercise is most recommended for babies. Here, the baby is allowed to lay on his stomach and is called by name. When the infant tries to turn back and see you, it leads to building strength in his/her neck muscle.
- Exercise using toys: Babies are attracted by toys and these can be useful to train them during physiotherapy. Here, the baby is made to lie down on a blanket, and sounds of toys are made. As soon as the baby looks at the toys, the physiotherapist moves around slowly according to the pace of the baby’s neck movement.
Consulting a physiotherapist for the delay in neck control of babies can help in preventing problems for the baby in the future. The sooner the baby has fair neck control, the earlier he/she learns to make all other body movements.