Just like adults, children and adolescents can also experience musculoskeletal imbalances, conditions and pain. So how do you tell what your child is going through and what health professional to take them to?
If you child has been complaining of severe pain following a fall or injury it may be worth a visit to the doctor to rule out a fracture. If you’re not sure, come to us first to avoid exposing your child unnecessarily to radiation associated with scans. We will be able to assess whether it’s something that needs further investigation.
Other pain in children or adolescent that may be encountered include; growing pains, sprains and strains, muscle cramps, tight muscles from sport, joint alignment issues, scoliosis and other conditions such as childhood forms of arthritis. Some of these conditions we will be able to treat and some we will need to refer to your doctor or a specialist.
So how exactly can a Myotherapist help?
Step 1. Assessment
The first step in treating pain in children is to talking to your child about their pain complaint. Sometimes they need a bit of help from you (parent or guardian) but we try to develop a good relationship with your child by encouraging good communication with us directly. We might ask questions about your child’s pain; how long as the complaint been occurring? How long does the pain typically last when it comes on? Have you had this in the past? What type of pain (or can you think of another time you have had this kind of pain)? When do you notice it the most? Is there anything that relieves the pain?
Once we have an understanding of what has been going on, it gives us ideas of what things to check. This helps us rule out more serious conditions or confirm something that we can treat on the day. The assessment might be getting them to do a specific movement, it might include testing joint, nerve or muscle or getting them to do an exercise to see if it helps.
If we find something we are unsure of we will refer you to the appropriate health care professional such as a GP. If we find something we can help with we will move on to the treatment phase of the consultation.
Step 2. Treatment
With pain in children and adolescents, it’s really important to try to empower them to learn about their bodies and treat themselves. That’s why we try to stay as hands-off as possible. Treatment will usually start with specialised movement therapy or instructing them where to place a spiky ball to help. Upon reassessment if progression is slow then we will become more hands on. This hands on treatment may include joint mobilisation (not cracking), dry needling (if when discussed child and parent is not apprehensive), trigger point therapy and massage/myofascial release techniques.
Sometimes treatment will include a few different approaches but rest assured we will always explain what we’ve found and discuss the treatment plan with you as we go. We then like to retest and make adjustments throughout the treatment to make sure the pain is reducing and the range of movement is increasing. Again always discussing with your child and yourself as we go.
Step 3. Management
Next we will talk about things that are going to be helpful at home for your child’s pain complaint, we like to call this a “Remedy Routine”. This may include applying heat or ice to an affected area. It may include and exercise to stretch or strengthen, mobilise or align. It may include self treatment with a spiky ball or foam roller, it may include a care plan where we check in on their musculoskeletal complaint more regularly (this is ideal for more persistent problems). We will also answer any questions you have and make sure we have set an achievable plan that will fit into their schedule and into your life as a parent/guardian too.
We have built great professional relationships with some local sporting clubs including a gymnastics and acro club, a cricket club and some dance studios.
The clubs find their members are away less from injury when working with us and the parents find they are more confident in the clubs because they know we can offer advice and help out where needed.
We have been treating pain in children and adolescents since starting the Mount Waverley clinic in 2012. Over the years we’ve found the most common issues are posture at school and when doing study at home; not understanding how to control their bodies properly for particular sports or activities; and overuse from having breaks over school holidays, for example, then amping up training regimes when returning from the break. If this sounds like your child then get in contact and find out more about how we can help 🙂
We believe keeping your children active and happy is important to their overall health & development.Myothrive
Just remember, persistent pain in children is not normal and should always be checked out. Email [email protected] if you have a specific question or click here to make a face to face or virtual booking. Virtual consultations are great for kids because we get to see their environment where they study or play and give them exercises that they can comfortably do at home. Best of all you don’t have to drive them to another appointment!
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