Head and Neck Stabilisation
There are five vital organs essential for survival. These are the brain, kidneys, lungs and liver. The brain is the body’s control centre; it receives and sends signals to other parts of the body.
Carers of children with disabilities pay most attention to the child's head and protect it in every possible way. In order to help their children, they usually seek help from physiotherapists who, through a range of activities try to restore neck control and head stabilisation. In most cases, rehabilitation exercises have the desired result, which needs to be fostered at home during everyday care. Unfortunately, excessive care may have the opposite effect and instead of being helpful, it may diminish the child's and the physiotherapist’s hard work. Too much support may render the final effect. In order to demonstrate how it works, we can perform a simple exercise. Let’s put a hand on the back of another person's head and ask them to lean against it. After a few seconds take the hand away. The head will drop, which proves the point that our body gets used to comfort and always takes the opportunity not to make any effort. Often, the child will try to get the parents to give them aid when they don't really need it. In such cases, parents/carers need to take time and make it clear that they will not give in. If parents/carers are consistent, the physiotherapy effects will be established and more visible with time.
However, in some situations, a headrest can be used. Everyone happens to have a bad day e.g. after a tiring rehabilitation or a difficult day at school. We should allow the child to rest when they need it.
The headrest is recommended for patients with spine scoliosis. The body rotates from the pelvis to the head. If the spine is set correctly, and the head still rotates towards one way, a headrest should be used. This will set the head along the body axis and the desired effect will be reached.
There are cases when the headrest support is insufficient and rehabilitation does not bring the desired effects. This relates to patients with muscle atrophy. Due to their condition, they are unable to control the head movements or they are in the process of losing this ability. The headrest, being a natural part of the backrest, together with side supports, enables to set the head correctly. This enables the carer to feed the patient with ease, let them relax in the natural position or perform activities which improve hand-eye coordination.
Physiotherapists have been seeking solutions which would support the patient in other ways. They were involved in consultations with the manufacturers of the rehabilitation equipment and concluded that the best results are received by traction. Thanks to the physiotherapists and engineers' joint effort the Headpod® was designed.
Headpod® is used for active support of head stabilisation. Its uniqueness lies in using silicone straps attached to the holder above the head, supporting the forehead and the back of the head. An effect similar to traction is achieved allowing head movements. As a result, the neck muscles start to work in their correct position, and the head is set in a position similar to its correct pattern. The evidence shows that long-term use of this device strengthens the neck muscles, which influences establishing correct head position. The Headpod® features a number of attachments, which enable mounting the equipment to various devices. The use of the equipment is not limited to the home. It can be used outdoors by attaching it to either a wheelchair or a special stroller.
It is worth noting that head stabilisation should be part of the rehabilitation process. Devices, like Headpod®, aim to extend the effect achieved by physiotherapy.