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What Are the Benefits of Physical Therapy for Kids?

Kids grow up so fast. Sometimes a part of growing up is injury from play or sports. Other times growing up can involve illness that inhibits their physical development. If your child is recovering from an injury or their physical development has been inhibited in some way, physical therapy can help them heal and reach their milestones. Let’s look at ways your child can benefit from physical therapy. 

What Is Physical Therapy?

Physical therapy is treatment for large body systems including muscles, limbs, and joints. Treatment involves gentle movements and manipulations of limbs and joints to help your child gain or recover physical ability. While physical therapy involves exercises, it’s more than just exercise and activity. Physical therapy involves keen attention to specific areas of the body. 

Physical therapy can be used to address, 

  • Overuse injuries
  • Surgery recovery
  • Developmental delays
  • Head injuries
  • Muscle diseases
  • Birth defects
  • Genetic disorders

What Are the Benefits of Physical Therapy?

Physical therapy helps children recover from injury and improve their physical mobility. Of course, that is very broad, so let’s look closer at the benefits of physical therapy by looking at the most common goals in physical therapy:

  • Improving range of motion
  • Increasing physical strength
  • Helping your child improve and maintain balance
  • Improve automatic responses (reflexes)
  • Improving your child’s posture when sitting and standing
  • Toning muscles to increase their bodily fitness
  • Reducing pain caused by injuries or chronic health conditions
  • Avoiding surgery following some accidents or injuries
  • Rehabilitating muscles and joints following an injury
  • Managing chronic illnesses or disability to prevent further disability

How Do I know If My Child Needs Physical Therapy?

Sometimes it can be hard to know if your child needs physical therapy. Young children may not be able to communicate their difficulties or have the experience to know something is wrong. Older children may be reluctant to talk about difficulties they’re having. Fortunately, you can look for signs that your child may need physical therapy including, 

  • Not meeting developmental milestones for activities like sitting, standing, or walking
  • Showing a preference for using one side of their body or in how they turn their head
  • Walking in an atypical manner, such as on the balls of their feet, or tripping and falling consistently when walking
  • Having difficulty keeping up with their peers during play
  • Having trouble with gross motor skills (skipping, running, jumping) compared to other children their age
  • Complaining about pain or show signs of pain when performing gross motor movements
  • Being unable to perform the same physical activities they used to follow an injury or accident

In addition to the above signs, your child can benefit from physical therapy if they are or have experienced, 

  • Prematurity
  • Torticollis/Wry Neck (head tilt)
  • Muscular Dystrophy
  • Down Syndrome
  • Spina Bifida
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Stroke
  • Delays in developmental milestones
  • Hypotonia (weakness, low tone)
  • Hypertonia (tightness, high tone)
  • Gross motor incoordination
  • Motor planning difficulties
  • Gait difficulties
  • Orthotic concerns
  • Neurological problems

Are You Looking for Physical Therapy for Your Child in Philadelphia? 

If you’re ready to take the next step in your child’s development, contact us today. 

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