Pediatric Physical Therapy
When many people think of physical therapy, they tend to think of surgical rehabilitation or geriatric specialties. While these are both important areas of physical therapy, our services are not only limited to the elderly or surgical patients looking for pain relief and functional improvement.
In fact, it is common for issues to occur in early childhood that can seriously impede further development, socialization, or physical function. When this happens, pediatric physical therapy can help.
If you’re concerned that your child may be suffering from an issue that is impacting their life, you’ll be relieved to know that our licensed physical therapists at Motion Works Physical Therapy are highly trained in helping children overcome physical and behavioral barriers. Contact our Walpole physical therapy office today to schedule an evaluation and discover how our services can help benefit your child.
Is my child in need of pediatric physical therapy?
You may be wondering, “how can I tell if my child needs this?” It is a common question we receive from concerned parents, and understandably so. If your child has never received a formal diagnosis of a major health problem from a pediatric physician or demonstrated any obvious symptoms of a problem, it can be difficult to determine if they’d be a strong candidate for our services.
However, sometimes a child can demonstrate signs of an issue that may not be dramatic. Keep an eye out for subtle indicators, such as:
- “W Sitting.” Does your child sit with their lower legs tucked outward, essentially forming a “W” shape on the ground? This “W sitting” appears harmless enough, and it won’t cause your child discomfort. However, it is a sign that your child’s core muscles may not be as strong as they should be. Poor core muscle strength affects children in the same ways it affects adults, as it can hinder balance and coordination, while also raising the risk of injuries.
- Slouching or stooping. If your child tends to slouch or stoop over, the muscles that support the trunk and/or neck may be weak. Chronic postural problems can aggravate muscle strain and may even cause spinal misalignment.
- Walking or stair-climbing abnormalities. If your child isn’t walking or climbing stairs normally, it may be a sign that physical therapy intervention is needed. For example, children who tend to walk on their toes all the time may be contending with balance or muscle problems. Children who can’t seem to go up or down stairs one foot at a time by age 4 may have coordination or developmental issues that need to be corrected.
What conditions does pediatric physical therapy treat?
Children can experience a wide range of physical and behavioral problems from a very early age, from autism or speech disorders to physical challenges, such as nerve or muscle problems. Pediatric physical therapy can treat a surprisingly broad range of such conditions, many of which may need to be diagnosed by a pediatric physician before consulting with our physical therapists. These conditions include, but are not limited to:
- Neurological injuries, including nerve damage and brain injuries.
- Musculoskeletal injuries (fractures, strains, sprains, etc.)
- Neurological disorders, such as hydrocephalus, spina bifida, muscular dystrophy, and cerebral palsy.
- Musculoskeletal disorders, such as juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, hypotonia (lax muscle tone), and hypertonia (excessive muscle tone).
Can pediatric physical therapy help my child walk?
If your child has a condition that is impacting his or her ability to walk or balance, we can help.
When many people think about walking, their minds automatically go to the legs. In order to take a step, you need to have a certain amount of strength in your calf muscles, quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes. However, your legs are only the starting point for the muscles involved in keeping you balanced, upright and mobile. To maintain a walking posture, you also need strength in your pelvic floor, back, abdomen and to a certain extent, your arms. In other words, you need a certain amount of total body strength in order to take a single step.
If your child’s muscle development is slowed in any one of these areas, walking is difficult or even impossible. Fortunately, our pediatric physical therapist is an expert in movement. He can assess your child’s current level of strength, as well as areas they need to improve. Through pediatric physical therapy, your child can gain the strength they need to make walking easier.
Can pediatric physical therapy help my child avoid injuries?
As proud as you are of your child’s bravery on the playground or playing field, a part of you still frets over the potential for injury. It’s only natural to be concerned about sprains, strains, accident injuries, and overuse injuries in active kids. The good news is that neither you nor your child is completely helpless against these lurking threats.
A strong, agile body is a must for preventing sports or play injuries. If your child has an obvious muscle weakness or other functional limitation, physical therapy can help minimize that obstacle to improve athletic safety and performance. Our physical therapist can evaluate your child’s balance, coordination, stance, gait, muscle strength, and range of motion for any issues that might need improvement. Specific physical therapy exercises can then be prescribed to correct those issues before your child takes the field.
He can help make sure your child is safe while performing athletic activities or running around the playground by:
- Demonstrating how to play safely.
- Providing proper warm-up and cool-down techniques.
- Educating you and your child on common injuries for his or her sport.
- Expressing the importance of proper nutrition.
- Designing a treatment plan for injury prevention.
Contact Motion Works Physical Therapy today!
At Motion Works Physical Therapy, our treatment methods are conservative and non-invasive, aimed at relieving pain, promoting healing, and improving function as needed. Our highly trained physical therapist incorporates specialized methods into his treatment plan to help your child receive the best possible treatment for his or her condition. When you and your child arrive at our practice, you will be greeted by the dedicated physical therapist who will design your child’s individualized treatment plan. This will be done following a comprehensive examination that will determine the best course of treatment for your child’s specific needs.
It is important to note that pediatric treatments are not the same as adult treatments. Children have different biomechanics than adults because they are still growing – both physically and mentally. Each pediatric sports injury treatment plan is unique, taking into account the child’s age, level of physical activity, and their continuing physical and mental development.
The overall goal of physical therapy is healing and prevention. In addition to treating your child’s condition, our physical therapist will provide strengthening exercises to prevent injuries from occuring (or reoccurring) in any of the affected area(s).
Are you looking for a pediatric physical therapist in Walpole? If so, look no further. Contact Motion Works Physical Therapy today at Walpole, MA to schedule an evaluation and get started on the path toward helping your child live a pain-free and functional life!