Physical Therapy is Rewarding
Practicing physical therapy provides me the rewarding opportunity to empower children and their families as well as the adults we serve to reach their maximum potential. Whether it’s learning to walk or by providing equipment which will allow someone to sit better in a wheelchair, the field of physical therapy offers a wide variety of practice areas, which makes each day new and special.
As a physical therapist working primarily in pediatrics, the biggest concern I see is the rising incidence of plagiocephaly and torticollis, both which, in most cases, can be easily prevented if parents were better equipped with an important piece of information. Because of our busy lifestyles and the opportunity to use devices such as car seats, bouncy seats, and swings for positioning, babies born today are spending more and more time on their backs or in devices. This has had a dramatic effect in head shape, neck tightness, and overall development. Babies are developing flat heads and are delayed in their gross motor skills because they learn how to sit before they can roll. Babies need time on their tummies to develop the appropriate curves in their spine, to strengthen their necks and arms, to provide flexibility in their hips and trunks, and for appropriate development of good hand-eye coordination. Babies should be placed on their tummies from the very beginning of life. Initially for only short periods of time and with a parent directly present for supervision. Following your child’s development using published checklists is recommended. If you are seeing areas of delay, contact your physician in order to determine if therapy intervention is needed.
The other recommendation I have for parents is to go outside and PLAY with your kids! Teach them how to play catch, shoot a basket, jump rope, ride a bike. Again, in our busy lifestyles, these are vital activities that easily go by the wayside and go unnoticed until children get to be school age and struggle in PE. I don’t mean to say that all children should become athletes, but being physically active and providing activities to improve coordination do a lot for a child’s self esteem and overall health.
-Shawn Frewaldt, MS, PT, ATP
Children’s Care Physical Therapist