When you think of physical therapy (PT), you most often picture an athlete in rehab or someone who has had an accident. However, physical therapy is more than just rehabilitation for athletes and the accident-prone. From young children to the elderly, PT can aid anyone in rehabilitation – from injury to health conditions. If you have a child that’s injured or may need physical therapy, here are some answers to common questions asked in regards to physical therapy and kids.
Why Does My Child Need Physical Therapy?
Physical therapy can help your child if they’ve suffered an injury, had a concussion or undergone surgery. However, it’s little known that PT can also help treat congenital conditions and even development delays. Some physical therapists even specialize in treating children. They are called pediatric physical therapists. They will assess your child’s joint range of motion, muscle strength and power, neurological and cognitive abilities, motor skills, and posture.
What Can Physical Therapists Help With?
A physical therapist can help improve your child’s balance, coordination, and strength so that his or her body can develop healthily. Furthermore, physical therapy can help your child recover from surgery. It can also mitigate lifelong effects from concussions and other injuries your child has been injured or is post-surgery, physical therapists will get your child back to playing. PTs will set a treatment program that can help heal injuries, like using hot and cold therapy, to exercise. Other than injury and post-surgery recovery, they will help guide your child through:
- Development activities, such as crawling, walking, jumping, and running
- Coordination and motor skills
- Increased range of motion
They can also be a good resource in instructing how to avoid and prevent injuries, as well as organize clinics that teach safety and prevention.
When Should I Take My Child To A Physical Therapist?
If your child has been injured, chances are your doctor will recommend physical therapy if he or she sees it necessary. However, if you have concerns about your child, it’s important to discuss those first with your regular pediatrician, although a referral is not necessary. A PT will then assess your child based on your concerns and will identify areas of weaknesses and opportunity. They will then create a treatment plan that’s customized specifically for your child.
What Does A Visit Look Like For Physical Therapy And Kids?
After an initial evaluation and assessment, a physical therapist will establish a treatment plan and go over this plan with you. Such a plan will include analysis and therapy, along with instructions for home exercises. They will also give a recommendation on when to return to sports or play.
Should I Have An Active Role In The Therapy?
The answer is yes. As a parent, you are an important part of ensuring that your child follows through with instruction of at-home exercises. In addition, they will look to you for knowing when to return to sports or play and what they can and cannot do to remain safe.