When to Take Your Child to Physical Therapy

April 19, 2021 10:36 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Physical therapy is commonly sought out for injuries relating to muscle damage or limited mobility, but it can also help children maximize their strength and mobility even as early as infancy. Working with a physical therapist at a young age can help a child gain mobility and independence. Read on for signs your child needs physical therapy in Napa County, CA.

Missed mobility milestones

Every baby develops differently and in their own time, so a missed or delayed developmental milestone may not necessarily be a cause for concern. However, it might still be reason enough for your child to be evaluated by a physical therapist specializing in pediatrics.

Newborns have very little head and neck control, so they might be prone to resting their head on the same side all the time. This could lead to the shortening of a neck muscle, which could cause stiffness that prevents the baby from turning their head to both sides. Prolonged resting in the same position can lead to the flattening of the back of the head. To prevent such conditions from developing, make sure the baby sleeps on their back and their position is frequently changed when they’re awake, with plenty of playtime on their tummy.

By six months, babies should be able to bear some of their weight on their legs while standing with assistance. Not being able to do so could be indicative of low muscle tone or hip misalignment. By eight months, babies should have enough core strength to sit on their own, first by supporting themselves with their arms and progressing to doing so without. By 12 months, babies should be crawling, unless hindered by insufficient coordination, strength or vision.

The age at which babies begin walking can range widely, from nine months to 18 months. If a baby is not making much progress with walking, they could be spending too much time in baby equipment instead of practicing to walk on their own. If they’re still not walking after 18 months, a physical therapy evaluation could reveal the source of the delay. An evaluation may also be necessary if the toddler is walking but only on their tiptoes for longer than six months.

Conditions physical therapy can treat

Physical therapy can also help children living with lifelong conditions that affect strength and mobility. These include, but are not limited to, autism, cerebral palsy, chronic pain and Down syndrome. Physical therapy can help children improve balance, strength, posture, mobility and coordination. It can also assist in developing motor skills, finding alternative methods to complete tasks and alleviating pain.

Looking for physical therapy for kids in Napa County, CA? Focus Forward Wellness & Physical Therapy treats clients of all ages. Our experienced team uses a comprehensive approach to identify the causes of pain and limitation in order to establish a personalized treatment plan that optimizes healing. Contact us today to learn more about our services and schedule a consultation. We look forward to meeting with you and your child!

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