When a child needs physical therapy, parents have to find professional who is trained and skilled in addressing their physical condition or injury as well as understanding and supporting a child’s emotional state and developmental level. Pediatric physical therapists are specialists in working with children at their developmental level and at their pace.
Pediatric physical therapy encompasses a broad spectrum of conditions and treatment approaches. Two primary categories of conditions they treat are orthopedic and neuro-developmental. Orthopedic conditions in children can be congenital, caused by an injury, or developed through repetitive strain or postural misalignment. Acquired orthopedic conditions are often those that occur as the result of an injury or accident. In younger children this can be fractures or soft tissue injuries that come as the result of a fall in the playground. In pre-adolescent or adolescent children, sports-related injuries such as ligament sprains or muscle strains are common. They also work with pediatric patients with neuro-developmental issues, such as autism and autism spectrum disorders for whom physical and occupational therapies are of paramount importance in their development.
Additionally, children are becoming increasingly likely to develop neck and back pain due to prolonged passive positioning and excessive screen-time when using electronic devices. Physical therapists address these issues using a variety of techniques such as taping, massage, and the use of modalities to protect the injured area and reduce pain. Innovative functional strengthening and flexibility exercises are necessary to effectively engage younger children and teach good habits to help address the symptoms and prevent future episodes. A hallmark of their compassionate pediatric treatment is creating a strong working relationship with parents and caregivers who become partners in implementing recommendations and achieving goals.