How Can Physical Therapy Help Children with Birth Injuries?
There can be various health effects caused by birth injuries, and no two cases are quite the same. Regardless of the effects, there are multiple ways that a physical therapy practice can help. Whether you need Lehigh Valley physical therapy or assistance anywhere else, these professionals can assist in developing individualized treatment plans to combat limitations, reduce pain, and maximize function.
There are certain birth injuries that require muscle strengthening. Physical therapy can assist in identifying what muscles require strengthening and how to keep these muscles strong and healthy. Your therapist can teach you and your child how to perform exercises or what activities and games promote strength without making your baby work too hard.
Spasticity is one of many possible side effects resulting from a birth injury. This is where the importance of daily range of motion exercises come into play. These types of exercises allow infects to maintain the mobility of their joints and soft tissues which can help prevent or delay the development of contractures.
This is an important feature that is a primary focus during physical therapy. The ability of your child to hold, point, balance, etc. all have factors relying on coordination. A physical therapist can have your child use building blocks, place shapes into their sized holes, or even play in obstacle courses to learn how to coordinate movements.
Another side effect of a birth injury may be balance problems. A physical therapist can focus on this weakness by teaching your child exercises to help improve their balance. Exercises may include balancing on one foot or encouraging the well-known game of hopscotch.
When diagnosed with a birth injury such as cerebral palsy it is common to see rigid posture and inability to modify or adjust postural control when sitting and reaching for an object. Physical therapy can develop interventions to fix this issue. Interventions may include stretching of muscles and strengthening weaker muscles causing these impairments.
The brain’s ability to receive, organize, and efficiently use information is provided through all of our senses. Unfortunately, birth injuries may cause the inability to process this information. Physical therapy is able to develop a program for children that focus on sensory integration. This may include increasing social skills, improving gross and fine motor skills, or developing motor planning skills. There are multiple facets that are involved in sensory integration, which can be personalized for each child.
There are numerous reflexes a baby should have after birth. If a child is lacking in reflexes, it is vital that physical therapy is started immediately. Issues that can be seen long term if reflexes are not addressed may include long term balance problems and gait difficulties. A physical therapist can implement reflex integration and increase your child’s motor function with an appropriate program.