EVEN THOUGH most babies are very welcome, the race for the door can be time consuming and exhausting for both mother and baby. Seldom do babies just slip through the exit. More likely they bang their head against a seemingly solid wall… and slowly a door opens. If it takes too long or appears to be too difficult, a pair of tongs will help pull the baby through.
In the April 2013 blog I talked about Bonnie Prudden Myotherapy, a way to get rid of muscle pain. I described Trigger Points, how you get them, how they are responsible for muscle pain and what to do about them. I noted that the first time you could accumulate trigger points is during birth. All that pushing and pulling can set down trigger points in the scalp, neck, and shoulders. I also noted that stress (either physical and / or emotional) can activate the trigger points leading to muscle pain.
How Do I Know Whether or Not My Baby Has Muscle Pain?
Chances are if your baby is warm, dry, and fed and is crying for no apparent reason….she may have a headache. Since the baby cannot tell you she has a headache she cries. You’ve done all the right things but your baby is still crying. The doctor says she is just cranky.
Often times what happens is that the act of nursing, using the facial muscles, activates the trigger points and the result is a headache. The doctor is apt to take the baby off the breast or change the formula. But that does not help because that is not the problem.
The second chance for the baby to have its trigger points activated is during teething. The nursing and the teething are both physical stresses calling on injured muscle to work which leads to muscle pain.
Most babies feel the fewer clothes the better. But every once in awhile there is a baby who doesn’t like to be without clothes. Bonnie found that sometimes, if the baby has trigger points on her back that just a breeze will be uncomfortable enough to lead to crying.
Luckily there is an answer and Bonnie Prudden has outlined it in her books Pain Erasure the Bonnie Prudden Way and How to Keep Your Child Fit from Birth to Six.
Since your baby is new, so are her trigger points. Helping a new baby is usually fairly quick. Start your search for trigger points using your finger. Press lightly as shown on the photos below. It is not necessary to do ALL the trigger points at one time. Just two or three at a time will often make a big difference in a short time.
Check the pictures, which show a map of potential trigger points and how to use your finger to apply gentle pressure. Start in the forehead on one side when the baby is NOT crying. The map shows the most likely places for trigger points. You won’t have to press very hard to get a reaction if there is a trigger point under your finger. Hold the pressure for three seconds and then rub the spot gently. Always do BOTH sides. If there is no reaction, there is no trigger point, so continue on without holding the required three seconds. Try to do three or four spots at a “session.” A session could be with each diaper change, or carry-the-baby-down-the-hall time. In very short order you will get the desired result…no headache, no crying, no swallowed air…and probably no colic. If the baby has TRUE colic then Myotherapy won’t work.
Start your search as you would for a headache/colic in the first two pictures and then add a few points UNDER the cheekbone as in the second two pictures. You do not have to be exact. After a few points, take time to massage the muscles you have pressed. Make sure that you do BOTH sides of the face. There is a muscle that surrounds the mouth. This muscle is often activated during teething as well as nursing. Press all around the mouth as though you were following a string of beads laid there.
Since babies and their trigger points are new you will probably notice immediate results. The baby will stop crying, start snuggling and then fall asleep. You may have to repeat the process during the next few days in order to complete the work. One or two more times is usually enough to make your little one comfortable.
If you need help, call me, or consult Bonnie’s books: Pain Erasure the Bonnie Prudden Way or How to Keep Your Child Fit from Birth to Six.
For more information about Bonnie Prudden®, Bonnie Prudden Myotherapy®, workshops, books, self-help tools, DVDs, educational videos, and blogs, visit www.bonnieprudden.com. Or call 520-529-3979 if you have questions or need help.
Enid Whittaker, Managing Director, Bonnie Prudden Myotherapy