Children’s physiotherapy is a broad term used to cover therapy given to a child age eighteen or younger. A physiotherapist, or physical therapist, is involved with a child from birth on upwards. Infants, toddlers and children may see a physiotherapist for any number of reasons, including those that are not caused by a physical illness or disorder.
Just as adults occasionally need assistance to diagnose, treat and heal for certain physical ailments, children’s physiotherapy is necessary for problems that may arise in adolescents. Bone breaks and fractures, knee surgery, sprained ankles, and shoulder injury all can affect a child as much as an adult. Unlike adults, a child’s body is constantly growing, constantly changing. Therefore, physical therapy needs to be adjusted to keep children motivated and to lessen their fears of failure.
While children’s physiotherapy does include the examination, diagnosis and treatment of illness, diseases, defects and disorders, physiotherapists are also concerned with a child’s natural growth development, motor skills, nutrition, emotional and mental well being.
Pediatricians have an interest in studying children’s physiotherapy to help catch early childhood conditions. They check the child’s developmental skills, such as when a newborn shows an ability to use neck muscles to raise his or her head.
How early or late an infant learns to sit up and walk according to national averages gives physiotherapists clues to development of the child’s bones, muscles, and organs. The rate at which a child develops and other physical factors tells a doctor whether or not he or she should suggest physical therapy to the parents.
Some areas involved in children’s physiotherapy include speech and language therapy, limited chest therapy, orthopedic therapy, and massage. Physical therapists work with children of any age. Exercises, mobilization and joint manipulation, safe stretches, and posture education are all subjects a physiotherapist brings to a child.
They also know techniques and methods to help children cope with Cerebral Palsy, Cystic Fibrosis, spinal injuries, headaches, allergies, muscle weakness, Multiple Sclerosis, Dyspraxia (brings about clumsiness), and Down Syndrome among many more diseases and disorders effecting children today.
Qualified and skilled physiotherapists may use manual therapy, such as massage, to help alleviate pain and relax muscles. They may bring in equipment, such as ultrasound, to relieve pain and swelling without the use of drugs, narcotics or injections. They are also more inclined to teach parents different methods and techniques to help their child when a physical therapist is unavailable.
Children’s physiotherapy encompasses many forms and is essential to child development. From bones, muscles and tendons, to respiratory and circulatory systems, a child will benefit from seeing a physiotherapist throughout his or her lifetime.