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Pediatric Physical Therapy: Kids Are Meant To Play!

Publish Date: Fri, September 08, 2017 - 10:12:00


By Michelle Sarb PT, DPT, OCS

A child’s job is to learn and develop through play.  If a child has difficulty moving, or has pain that limits his or her ability to participate, it is important to address the problem.  Physical therapy is one way to help get a child back on track and back to the job of growing and developing motor skills. 

At Rock Valley Physical Therapy, pediatric physical therapy takes the job of play and puts an orthopedic spin on it.  Children are screened as young as three months and are seen up to high school ages, though the focus does shift through this age range.  Babies and toddlers may be seen for birth related nerve injuries, torticollis (abnormal head tilt with tight neck muscles), or a delay in gross motor skills such as crawling or walking.   Middle-school- and high-school-aged kids can be seen for issues that evolve from normal growth and development, but are also often seen for sports related injuries and issues that develop from other surgeries like organ transplants.

It’s amazing how quickly kids’ bodies can heal and bounce back after injuries, but sometimes there is a delay in return to activity.  Sometimes stiffness after a broken bone needs a little extra stretching, or there may

be fear involved in returning to sport after an injury.  Physical therapy can help with those issues and more. 

It is not always easy to instruct children on exercises that they need to do to address their impairments.  Treatment often turns into a game and takes a lot more hands-on demonstration.  Strength building and weight bearing activities become “crab walks” and “bear crawls,” and sometimes the chance to race your therapist while hopping on one foot is all the motivation it takes to get a kid going. 

With shorter attention spans and sometimes less stamina, children may have shorter therapy sessions than an adult would.   It can be helpful for parents to be in the sessions in order to learn how to carry over the treatment at home, but we assess that on an individual basis, as some kids perform better without their parents watching.  A child cannot always communicate what is hurting or why.  It is important for parents, doctors, and physical therapists to maintain an open dialogue to help best serve that child. 

When problems develop or injuries occur that keep your children from play, the physical therapists at Rock Valley Physical Therapy are ready to care for them and get them moving as soon as possible!

Michelle Sarb is located in our Moline, IL - 43rd Ave office.  To schedule and appointment with Michelle, please call our office at 309-743-0300. 

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