Physical Therapy for Plagiocephaly: Understanding the Benefits

Person touching babies head in car seat

Choosing the Right Physical Therapist for Plagiocephaly


Plagiocephaly, also known as flat head syndrome, is a common condition caused by positional preference of the child’s head. It affects the shape of the skull and can be diagnosed through physical examination and imaging. Fortunately, physical therapy has become an effective treatment to help reshape babies’ heads and reduce further flattening.

Physical therapy for plagiocephaly is a safe and gentle approach that helps babies improve their head shape. It can also provide many other benefits, such as allowing the baby to move freely, encouraging healthy postural development, improving neck and shoulder alignment, and helping reduce tension in the facial muscles. In this article, we discuss what causes plagiocephaly and how it is diagnosed, the benefits of physical therapy for treating this condition, when treatment should begin, and tips on finding the right physical therapist for your child’s needs. Read on to get a better understanding of how physical therapy can help with plagiocephaly.

Understanding Plagiocephaly: Definition, Causes, and Diagnosis

Plagiocephaly is a condition where the head of an infant or young child becomes flattened on one side. This can occur as a result of wearing helmets or other protective headgear for long periods of time, lying in one position for too long (such as in a car seat or crib), or being born prematurely. Plagiocephaly is usually painless, does not affect the baby’s brain development, and can be corrected with early intervention.

Plagiocephaly can also cause other secondary issues such as torticollis (tightness in the neck muscles) or facial asymmetry that may require additional treatment. It can be detected by examining the shape of the skull and can also be diagnosed through physical examination and imaging.

Benefits of Physical Therapy for Plagiocephaly

Physical therapy treatment can be very effective in treating plagiocephaly. It is designed to help reshape babies’ heads and reduce further flattening. Physical therapists use a variety of techniques such as stretching, massage, and exercises to improve the strength of the baby’s neck muscles, correct the position of the head, and improve their ability to turn their head. This can help reduce pressure on the skull and promote better symmetry of the face and neck.

When Should Physical Therapy Treatment Begin For Plagiocephaly?

Early intervention is key for treating plagiocephaly as it can prevent further flattening of the head. Physical therapy should be started as soon as possible after diagnosis and can begin as early as six weeks of age. Your therapist will work with you to develop an individualized treatment plan tailored to your baby’s needs.

Tips on Finding the Right Physical Therapist for Your Child’s Needs

When choosing a physical therapist, it is important to ensure that they are experienced in treating plagiocephaly and are familiar with the latest treatment techniques. You should also make sure that your therapist is knowledgeable about other conditions such as torticollis. Finally, you should ensure that they understand your needs and goals for your baby’s care.


Physical therapy can be an effective treatment for plagiocephaly and its associated conditions. Early intervention is key for ensuring the best outcome, so it is important to begin treatment as soon as possible after diagnosis. When selecting a physical therapist, make sure that they are experienced and knowledgeable about plagiocephaly and other conditions associated with it. With the right therapist, you can ensure that your baby receives the care they need to reach their fullest potential.