Not all children need physical therapy. Some only require physical therapy under certain circumstances, such as after an injury. On the other hand, children who have developmental delays or limitations on movement can benefit from pediatric physical therapy on a long-term basis. Here are some possible benefits of physical therapy for kids and examples of situations in which it might be necessary.
Fostering Healthy Motor Skills
Newborn babies aren’t able to exert much control over their own movements. However, as they grow and mature, they start to develop gross motor skills: Crawling and walking at first, then moving on to running, hopping, and jumping.
As children keep developing their gross motor skills, they also start learning fine motor skills, which involve manipulating fine objects with their fingers. Because children tend to develop these skills at around the same age, they are also examples of developmental milestones.
Congenital conditions such as muscular dystrophy or cerebral palsy can cause symptoms of coordination difficulties or abnormal muscle tone that can affect the development of both gross and fine motor skills.
Conditions such as Downs syndrome can also cause developmental delays. Physical therapy Fayetteville NC can help children with these and other conditions that can slow their developmental progress to reach these milestones and function more effectively.
Maintaining Healthy Weight
Childhood obesity is a major problem throughout the United States, affecting about 20% of American children. Obesity can lead to health conditions, such as diabetes, that can affect children for the rest of their lives. There are many contributing factors to childhood obesity, but high caloric content in food and sedentary lifestyles are two of the most salient.
You may be asking yourself, “Can taking my child to physical therapy near me help with weight management?” The answer is, very probably, yes. A physical therapist can design a fitness program especially for your child that can balance caloric intake with physical activity with the goal and achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.
Helping Your Child Grow Healthy
Children can suffer injuries by playing sports or games, whether alone or with others, at home or at school. In fact, children are slightly more prone to injury because their body proportions affect their balance, a skill that develops with time just as motor skills typically do.
As with adults, physical therapy can help children recover after an injury. However, children’s bodies are different from those of adults because they are still growing. Therefore, they need physical therapy designed especially for their growing and changing bodies.
Nevertheless, physical therapy doesn’t have to be strictly rehabilitative. It can also help prevent injuries. Children who participate in athletics are typically active and healthy, but they do push their bodies hard which can contribute to injuries. A physical therapy program can help strengthen your child’s body to make it more resistant to injury.
Pediatric physical therapy is also designed to engage your child. Therapeutic exercises are often structured as games, and children may have so much fun, they do not realize that they are receiving therapy. Find a physical therapy clinic in your area that treats children.