kiss syndrome

KISS syndrome: how to detect it in babies?

Your baby cry incessantly ? Take a weird posture ? Difficulty developing motor skills ? It may be a Kiss syndrome. It is a cervical discomfort that should not be taken lightly. This disorder, unknown to many people, can be easily treated with osteopathy. It mainly affects the infants and young children. But unfortunately, it is causing a lot of controversy. Very few health professionals know this pathology and are able to diagnose it. Moreover, many question its existence.

So faced with this problem, we looked at the question: how can we detect this disease? And above all, how do we manage it effectively?

What is Kiss Syndrome?

La upper area of vertebrae by the neck is extremely complex and sensitive. It consists of first two cervical vertebrae (atlas and axis) and a part of the bone at the base of the skull (occiput). In this area, a huge amount of information is sent to various areas of the brain, such as those that control muscles, balance, swallowing, sight, psychomotor development, etc.

cervical spinal nerves causing ants in the hands

She's essential for sustainable postural balance of the newborn and in the definition of orientation in space and movement in general. If these joints at the craniocervical junction are blocked, this can lead to problems with posture, but also with behavior and/or the digestive system.

Le KISS-syndrome, acronym in German for "Kopfgelenk Induzierte Symmetrie Störungen" or "symmetry disorders induced by cervical vertebrae" in French, is defined as the existence of functional disorders of the upper cervical vertebrae (top of the neck), especially the atlas-axis and the occiput.

It's about a positional and functional discomfort, or in other words a " blocking ", of the cervical spine higher in newborns. It could take different forms: for example in the form of a translation, a rotation or a subluxation. There will be a loss of mobility in the joint between the first cervical vertebrae and the base of the skull.

This leads to constant tension in the body which can result in symmetry disturbances (flattening of one side of the head, inclination of the body in a C-shape or in the shape of a comma, hyperextension of the head backwards "in opisthotonos", jaw more prominent than the other, etc.) and difficulties in nervous and/or digestive order.

This syndrome is often confused with torticollis and plagiocephaly infant (deformation of the child's skull characterized by an asymmetry giving the head an oblique "flat-headed baby" shape).

Result,child positions his head wrong, which will lead to functional adaptations of the body, at the origin of various ailments.

It was first mentioned in 1984 by a German doctor, Heiner Biedermann, an orthopedic surgeon and chiropractor. Little known, this syndrome mainly affects newborns.

The causes of this gene in the cervical joint

The KISS syndrome is developed during pregnancy, in utero and/or whendelivery. Sometimes, instead of developing harmoniously in the mother's womb, the baby will block its head at some point and continue its development in rotation. Several causes can lead to this blockage of the craniocervical junction:

  • a stressful pregnancy;
  • a twin pregnancy;
  • poor position of the fetus in the uterus;
  • a difficult delivery with the use of forceps or suction cup (cord around the neck, presentation in the seat, etc.);
  • pressure on the belly of the parturient to lower the baby;
  • premature rupture of membranes;
  • an accident during pregnancy;
  • poor intrauterine position of the fetus;
  • a narrow female pelvis;
  • a trauma (shock) on the head in the first months of life…

There would also be a familial predisposition. Indeed, we have been able to observe more and more often that the risk of a KISS problem in brothers and sisters of the same sex.

On the other hand, if during the growth, the infant or the child suffers a fall or a blow, this can have repercussions on the structuring of the spine and therefore cause KISS syndrome.

Symptoms of this syndrome

Incessant crying, difficulty moving or vomiting are signs that should alert parents.

Although the symptoms would seem to vary from one child to another, because the blockage and the resulting tensions vary from case to case, there are 2 kinds are described in the literature (description by Biedermann):

Type 1: Lateral tilt of the newborn or child

The child's head, spine and pelvis describe a posture fixed like a "C", as if the child had scoliosis. This therefore leads to various asymmetries:

  • at head level: flattening of the back of the skull type plagiocephaly since the child's head is often turned to the same side;
  • at face level: the opening of one of his eyes is larger than the other, one side of his jaw is more prominent than the other, the ears may be offset;
  • at upper limb level: the arms are not necessarily used symmetrically;
  • in the pelvis and lower limbs: Both legs and arms may not be used symmetrically.

Type 2: Hyperextension of the head and spine or in opisthotonos

In this case, the child is not really asymmetrical. He presents a posture fixed in hyperextension of the head and spine, that is to say he throw his head back (expanding).

He may also present a cranial deformation, but this time often symmetrical (type brachycephaly : global posterior flattening of the skull, due to the lack of rotation of the head to the side).

The child seems hypertonic, tenda, don't like to be on their back, and sometimes don't like to be on their stomach either.

In both types, the psychomotor development of the child could be disturbed (when crawling, crawling, sitting, gripping, fine motor skills, etc.).

The child is also irritated, do some crying attacks frequent signs of discomfort, has sleep and falling asleep disorders, digestive disorders (gastro-oesophageal reflux, colic, constipation) and sucking disorders (difficulty taking the breast or even the bottle). He cries a lot, he is restless, or conversely, he is a very quiet baby, who sleeps too much.

This zone (cranial base and first cervical) constitutes a sensory zone having close links with the interlocking of the musculoskeletal system and balance, sleep, the vegetative centers of the brain and the main control centers of the brain. That is why hypersensitivity in this area leads to such symptoms.

If no support is put in place, the child will continue to grow with this joint dysfunction, which will lead to difficulties, especially when learning to walk.

How to Diagnose a KISS?

In view of the symptoms, the doctor requests a radiography du cervical spine and basin in order to make the diagnosis. The goal is to find a misalignment of the cervical vertebrae. Possibly, one can also, ask for a scanner with a specific incidence, which will be able to highlight a subluxation of the craniocervical hinge.

However, these exams have to be well thought out and not should not be taken lightly, given the sensitivity of young children to ionizing radiation.

How to treat this misalignment of the cervical spine?

To treat a KISS syndrome, the child can follow osteopathy sessions. They aim to release tension at the craniocervical junction and remove blockages. Care as soon as possible will be ideal, in order to prevent the baby from taking bad positions to compensate for this syndrome.

Before starting the osteopathy sessions, the child must be seen by a doctor, to exclude any other pathologies or underlying organic diseases.

He also passes x-rays of the cervical spine and pelvis in order to establish a precise articular osteopathic diagnosis of the craniocervical junction.

Osteopathy is an effective manual therapy for treat KISS syndrome. The osteopathic treatment consists of a re-harmonization of the craniocervical junction and the soft parts attached to it. And of course, it will be necessary to check that there is no tension on the cranio-sacral axis and on the pelvis. The process consists of making gentle techniques, non aggressive to the baby, for restore mobility to the craniocervical joint, in full respect of physiology.

The osteopath will not crack baby. During the osteopathic session, baby may cry, not for the pain, but because it is his only way to express himself. The release of tissue tension can also lead to crying during or after the session.

We release the tensions in the mouth to solve the problems of sucking, the intestine and the stomach. We do not manipulate the skull, because this kind of manipulation, even carried out by an experienced practitioner, is not without risk for the baby. Instead, we make a correction with a support on the first vertebrate neck to relax her.

Most of the time, three sessions 15 days apart, are recommended to treat this pathology, although each case may differ. Then it will be necessary to do a regular maintenance, according to the importance of the asymmetry, until adolescence.


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