Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation

Often, physical therapy is prescribed by doctors for children who have been injured, struggle with movement problems related to a disease, illness, or disability. Following an injury, physical therapists can usually help to reduce pain and help children get back into resuming their daily lives. Physical therapists can teach children different ways and exercises to do to help regain strength, range of motion, and prevent another, recurring injury. However, PT isn’t simply limited to children who have had an injury. Many children have challenges moving in a way that prevents them from engaging in activities of daily living.

Pediatric physical therapists are in a unique position to help children and families to overcome challenging circumstances and promote greater happiness and profound joy. These therapists use an arsenal of techniques that can help treat musculoskeletal problems and improve the mobility for children who are facing a variety of medical conditions. A pediatric physical therapist will interview you and your child and perform a variety of examinations to diagnose the source of your child’s movement disorders. From there, our physical therapist will guide an individualized treatment plan to help your child successfully meet and exceed his or her goals. Your child’s PT will help to improve your child’s motor development, strength, range of motion, endurance, balance, coordination, gait challenges, heart and lung endurance, as well as overcome delayed motor development.

What Kinds of Challenges Does Physical Therapy Help To Overcome?

Physical therapy can be used for children who have been diagnosed with certain disabilities, delays, and injuries to help them regain as much function as possible in their activities of daily living. These challenges may include:

  • Acute trauma
  • Birth defects – such as spina bifida
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Developmental delays
  • Effects of in utero drug or alcohol exposure
  • Genetic disorders
  • Head injury
  • Heart and lung conditions
  • Limb deficiencies
  • Muscle diseases
  • Orthopedic disabilities or injuries
  • Sports injuries

Techniques Physical Therapists May Use

Every child who comes to us for help will receive an individualized plan of care specific to his or her needs based upon interviews and evaluations. Your child’s PT will also work to teach you and your child about safety and home exercises, as improvement of physical function is usually best done through daily practice. There are a wide array of exercises and techniques physical therapists may use to help a child regain or increase his or her strength, improve movements, and strengthen existing skills to promote greater independence. These techniques may include:

  • Improving developmental delays in fine and gross motor skills through teaching your child to crawl or walk
  • Specific sports rehabilitation that has an emphasis on timeliness for returning to the sport
  • Training your child to use any assistive devices such as a brace, crutches, or walkers
  • Elongation of tight muscles and strengthening weaker muscles during active exercise
  • Training to build strength around an injury
  • Improving circulation around an injury by using various techniques, such as cold, heat, exercise, electrical stimulation, massage, and ultrasonography
  • Exercises in flexibility designed to increase range of motion
  • Practice balance and coordination through developmentally appropriate activities
  • Adaptive play
  • Water therapy
  • Family and child education about prevention of future injuries

During your child’s session, his or her PT may perform evaluations to help guide treatment. These may include:

  • Measurement of flexibility and strength of your child
  • Analysis of child’s gait through watching them walk or run
  • Identify any potential or existing problems
  • Create an at-home regime of exercises to promote greater functioning

If you have any concerns about your child’s gross or fine motor development, call the amazing treatment staff at Ascent Children’s Health Services to schedule a consultation. The sooner we can begin our work, the happier your life will be.