Having a child can be one of the greatest gifts in our lives. I know my life changed completely when my daughter Emma was born. We all want our children to be healthy and safe, however, sometimes they may face physical challenges. We see pediatricians for different injuries, or if we notice our child may not be developing like we hope. It can be a really scary time for a parent when the pediatrician tells you something is wrong, or you see your child hurting. When most people think of Stratton Rehab, they think of sports and spine injuries in athletes and the older population. However, Stratton Rehab offers pediatric physical therapy starting with children as young as a few days old. We treat developmental delay, orthopedic injuries, and soft tissue disorders in all children.
Coming out of physical therapy school, I always had an interest in pediatric physical therapy, but also really had a love for the orthopedics. Shortly after graduation, I moved down to the Rio Grande Valley for three years. During this time I was able to do both. I figured out I could use some of the techniques we use in the orthopedic world to help assist in treating children. I realized a hands-on approach incorporating manual and orthopedic therapies led to greater and faster results in pediatric patients.
One of the most common issues we see in infants is Torticollis. In Latin Torticollis means “twisted neck”. It is a soft tissue disorder of the cervical spine that causes the neck to side bend down to one side and rotate to the other. In babies it is usually caused from the infant staying in one position for too long while in the mother’s womb or because the muscles were harmed during the delivery process. In most cases Torticollis can be treated with physical therapy, but only in very rare cases are surgical interventions required. During a physical therapy evaluation we examine your child’s neck to see how severe the Torticollis presents. Then through multiple techniques that include stretching the neck, positioning techniques, and parent education, the Torticollis can and will resolve over time.
Another common issue we treat is Developmental Delay. We are always reading how and when our child should reach certain milestones in their lives. Such milestones include sitting unsupported, crawling, and walking. When a child reaches a certain age and is unable to perform these milestones it can be worrisome. Sometimes, the child is simply not ready to perform the tasks, leading to weakened muscles, or some other underlying neurological condition may be a factor. When you come in for your appointment, we will evaluate your child through a number of different tests. We will first check to see what your child is able to do. We will then check your child’s musculoskeletal system to determine if that is decreasing your child’s ability to properly perform tasks. After the assessment, we can formulate a treatment plan to best fit your child’s needs. We can perform tasks that mimic play and help strengthen your child. We can also perform different exercises through positioning and manual therapy to help your child reach these milestones. Parent education and a home exercise program is essential for overall success. If we reach a point where we feel bracing or an assistive device is necessary, we have the resources for the appropriate people to assist your family.
We also treat numerous orthopedic injuries in children. Stratton Rehabilitation offers post-surgical rehab for elbows, knee and ankle injuries, soft tissue injuries due to overuse or sports, and even your common back and neck pain in children. With our hands-on techniques, we are able to get your child back on track more quickly and effectively. We use techniques such as manual therapy, kinesiotaping, functional dry needling, myofascial release, various modalities, traction, and exercise. Every treatment we perform is catered to your child’s needs.
Pediatric physical therapy can be the most difficult to treat but the most rewarding. Nothing makes my day more fulfilling than being able to get a child back to appropriate development, or even returning to their normal activities before an injury. We are always striving and fighting for our children and we want nothing but the best for them. I am continually learning new techniques I can incorporate into my treatment for children. There is nothing that I would not attempt to help my child, and I take that same philosophy when it comes to treating all of my patients- especially my pediatric patients.