We are all unique, with our own individual collection of quirks and irregularities that make us who we are. Sometimes, however, an issue occurs in early childhood that can seriously impede our further development, socialization or physical function. If you’re concerned that your child may be suffering from such an issue, you’ll be relieved to know that a variety of pediatric therapy options, including pediatric physical therapy, can be extremely helpful. Let’s look at some ways to tell whether your child might benefit from such techniques. If so, contact Oceanside Therapy Group in Oceanside, CA today, and our physical therapist will discuss those signs and symptoms with you.
Conditions Treated by a Pediatric Physical Therapist
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 as:
- 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)
Signs and Symptoms of Potential Problems
If your child has never received a formal diagnosis of a major health problem or demonstrated any obvious symptoms of such a problem, you may be wondering how you can tell whether your child is a potential candidate for pediatric physical therapy. Such signs need not be dramatic demonstrations. Keep a watch for such subtle indicators as:
- “W Sitting” – Does your child sit with his 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. But it’s a sign that your child’s core muscles may not be as strong as they should be. Poor core muscle strength (in either children or adults) can affect 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 encourage spinal misalignment and muscle strain.
- Walking or stair-climbing abnormalities – If your child isn’t walking or climbing stairs normally, he may need a physical therapist. Children who tend to walk on their toes all the time, for instance, 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.
How Pediatric Physical Therapy Can Help
Pediatric physical therapy offers a safe, supervised, drug-free complement to other forms of pediatric care. A comprehensive initial evaluation can help our physical therapist identify any abnormalities in gait, stance, balance, physical coordination or muscle tone. We can then prescribe physical therapy routines or exercises aimed at improving those particular weak points. We may recommend:
- Exercises to rebuild muscle strength following fracture repair or other lengthy convalescence
- Flexibility exercises to help restore full range of motion following a sprain or strain
- Gentle stretches and other methods to lengthen and loosen tight tissues that affect gait
- Core training exercises to help your child assume a straight, healthy posture and resist injury
Bring Your Child to Our Physical Therapist
Whatever challenges your child may face, our physical therapist is ready to help. Call Oceanside Therapy Group today for an appointment!