You might be surprised to learn that even children need physiotherapy sometimes. Physiotherapy for children, or pediatric physiotherapy, is not only for children with disabilities. While it’s true that pediatric physiotherapists often treat young people with disabilities, we can help with a lot of physical health conditions faced by any child. Here is a list of reasons why your child might benefit from seeing a physiotherapist.
1. They are not keeping up with kids their own age in physical activities. This is a very common reason why some children might need physiotherapy. Everyone reaches their motor milestones at their own pace. However, sometimes it becomes obvious that the skill level a child is very different from their peers. An example of this would be if a child cannot climb to the top of the monkey bars where all their friends like to hang out. This can predispose the child to feeling excluded if they aren’t able to participate in the same activities. Physiotherapy can provide the child with extra time and individualized exercise programs to practice the skills needed to reach their goals.
2. They are clumsy and it is negatively affecting their quality of life. Some children are clumsier than others but don’t necessarily have a diagnosis. This might not be a problem for everyone, however, as soon as it impacts their self-esteem and quality of life, it might be time to try physiotherapy. A physiotherapist will provide an individualized coordination, balance, and strength-based exercise program that is tailored to the activities your child is interested in.
3. Your child has growing pains. Growing pains are thought to be a normal part of childhood felt by some children more than others. What many people do not realize is that children can prepare their bodies for periods of growth just like how adults prepare their bodies for physical goals such as a big hike. Growing pains are due to bones growing faster than muscles. Thie muscles become stretched and have to function in a disadvantageous position. Pediatric physiotherapists can help with pain management during times of growth and work with the child to build muscle in between growth spurts.
4. Your child sustained a concussion. In recent years the media has highlighted the negative impact concussions can have on the mental health of people into adulthood. Children are very active in sports and other physical activities that have concussion risks. If your child sustains a hit to the head in any circumstance, it is advised that they be reviewed by a doctor or physiotherapist who has training in concussion management. Many people think that sustaining multiple concussions automatically leads to long term damage to the brain, but this is a common misconception. Multiple concussions do not necessarily mean long term damage to the brain if you provide the adequate time it takes to recover between hits. It is only when you do not give the brain tissue time to heal and sustain a second hit, that it becomes susceptible to long term damage. A physiotherapist can guide your child through their recovery and make sure they don’t return to sport until it is safe to do so.
5. Your child walks on their toes or has other abnormal walking patterns. Everyone has unique variances in the way they walk and most of them are not a problem. However, certain walking pattee rns put your child at risk of muscle imbalances, overuse injuries, and falls. Abnormal walking pattee rns can look like; walking primarily on their toes, having their feet excessively pointed inwards or outwards, or other positions that negatively affeect their quality of movement. A physiotherapist can assess what the cause of the walking pattee rn is, make referrals if necessary and provide an individualized exercise program to help your child strengthen their muscles and improve their function.
6. You have concerns about your child’s pelvic health. Pediatric pelvic physiotherapy can be greatly beneficial for children who have urine or fecal leakage during the day or night as well as pelvic pain, constipation, overactive bladder, underactive bladder, urinary tract infections (UTI), large diameter stool that plugs the toilet, and stomach pain or bloating. A physiotherapist can assess and identify the cause of the pelvic health concern and come up with a treatment plan for your child. Pelvic health physiotherapy can include different core and pelvic floor exercises for children, education for the child and parent, voiding schedules, food and fluid intake advice, and more.
It is important to seek a physiotherapist that has training and/or experience treating your child’s condition. Some of these conditions such as concussion rehabilitation and pediatric pelvic health require physiotherapists to have extra training. Physiotherapists are experts at developing programs that suit your child and your family. Often times, it can feel overwhelming to get everything done in the evenings and the thought of exercises on top of that can feel unattainable. Your physiotherapist will work with you to develop strategies and plans that fit in with your family’s lifestyle and schedule.
Cairn Physiotherapy is a virtual physiotherapy clinic offering various services over video call in British Columbia and Alberta. Their physiotherapists treat adults and kids for general physiotherapy concerns and offer specialized services for pediatric physiotherapy, pediatric pelvic health, pediatric yoga, yoga for the pelvic floor, and adult pelvic health.
Brenda Horton believes every child deserves to have fun, to be respected, and to be given a chance to be their very best. Thus, she creates motor learning and individualized exercise opportunities for children that are enjoyable and repeatable at home.
Metrotown Orthopedic & Sports Physiotherapy Clinic
350 – 4789 Kingsway, Burnaby, B.C., V5H 0A3
An experienced group of orthopedic physiotherapists whose focus is to return young athletes back to their sports and activities safely and to prevent future harm. Specific exercises are prescribed to each client reflecting their individual and specific injury.
Catherine MacGillivray is a registered pediatric physiotherapist in Alberta and British Columbia. She has a Master of Physiotherapy Studies from the University of Queensland in Australia and has worked with children across Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. Catherine provides pediatric physiotherapy over telehealth (online physiotherapy) with Cairn Physiotherapy.