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What is Physical Therapy and How Does It Benefit Children?

What is Physical Therapy and How Does It Benefit Children?

What is Physical Therapy?

Pediatric Physical Therapy (PT) is a branch of healthcare that specifically addresses improvement in your child’s physical capabilities and/or pain with physical movement. Based on the specific physical needs of your child, a doctor may require a Pediatric Physical Therapist to evaluate your child and develop a treatment plan to improve your child’s physical movements or alleviate pain. 

There are many chronic conditions, injuries, and diseases where Pediatric Physical Therapy may be beneficial to your child. For example, Physical Therapy is often an essential part of rehabilitation for a child who has had surgery on their joints, arms, or legs. It may also be an ongoing treatment strategy for a child with Cerebral Palsy (CP) to assist them in improving muscular growth, skeletal development, and movement and keep joints flexible. Pediatric Physical Therapy is also part of the primary treatment for children with torticollis (a problem with the neck muscles). 

Pediatric Physical Therapy can help treat a host of other childhood and adolescent conditions such as:

  • Head trauma
  • Brain injury
  • Brain tumor
  • Bone tumors
  • Spina bifida
  • Spinal cord damage
  • Visual/motor skills
  • Developmental growth 
  • Muscular Dystrophy
  • Amputations 

Who provides Physical Therapy?

A Physical Therapist is a healthcare specialist with an advanced education (typically a master’s/doctoral degree) and who has successfully completed at least one-year of clinical residency. All Physical Therapists require licensure, and the requirements of a Physical Therapist license varies by state. 

Physical Therapists can obtain additional certification to qualify them for specialized care, and Pediatric is one such specialized certification. A Pediatric Physical Therapist is familiar with physical conditions that are predominant and specific to children, and they also have a higher level of training and education pertaining to infant/child developmental anatomy. 

Physical Therapists vs Physical Therapy Assistant

A Physical Therapist (PT) has received more training than a Physical Therapy Assistant (PTA), however if Physical Therapy is part of your child’s treatment program, you will likely work with both. Typically, your first Physical Therapy appointment will be with a Physical Therapist who will be the one to evaluate your child and determine the course of treatment or the physical therapy strategy, also known as the treatment plan. After that initial consult and treatment plan development, your subsequent appointments will likely be carried out by the Physical Therapy Assistant who will collaborate with your child and work with them through progressive exercises based on the treatment plan prescribed by the Physical Therapist.  

Benefits of Physical Therapy

There are many benefits to Pediatric Physical Therapy, with the primary one being a restoration of movement and range of motion. If your child or adolescent experiences any range of motion or physical movement issues as a result of a surgery, injury, disability, illness, or disease, then Physical Therapy can provide healing and restoration to ease the pain and restore full range of motion. 

Physical Therapy can be extremely beneficial for children across a broad spectrum of needs and in some cases can even replace surgery or medication. Additionally, Physical Therapy also teaches children with a physical impairment how to move and/or participate in activities in a safe way in order to prevent further damage to the muscles and bones.  

Find a Physical Therapist 

Visit www.KidsTherapyFinder.com and search our directory to find a Pediatric Physical Therapist for your child today. 

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