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.
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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When I grew up (which wasn’t all that long ago), I played netball in the winter and tennis in the summer combined with swimming all year round. I eventually switched netball for basketball and dropped the tennis and eventually dropped the swimming too. I also tried my hand (or foot) at soccer, aussie rules, badmitton, dancing and volleyball. The downside to jumping around to different activities was I was never amazing at any one sport.
I was good at most of them though. We made finals in just about every team I was on. There were only a few select kids who were amazing that were driven around the country side by their parents to compete at state level and nationally. There was still usually an off season too. I’m not sure if it was a country thing, maybe I would have had a different experience if I’d grown up in the city? Or maybe things have changed that much and kids sport is taken more seriously now days?
I don’t know what’s changed or why things have changed but I am treating more and more kids who are mostly playing just one sport or activity. We have swimmers, dancers, gymnasts, netball players, Aussie rules players, cricketers, tennis players and golfers who are all under 15 years of age and spending the majority of their time on the one activity. Some of them are fantastic, which is great, nothing wrong with developing a talent, but the problem is they’re not getting the balance the mixed sports used to bring which is leading to overuse injuries.
When you have a mixture of sports, your body is always having to use different muscles, but when you are playing and practicing the same sport, dance routine or skill over and over, the same muscles, tendons and joints are being loaded over and over again. Some of my primary and high school buddies have gone on to play at the top level of their field in sport. Walking, diving, AFL and badminton are a few just off the top of my head. I never remembered them training all year round. I remember them keeping fit; seeing them run along the highway, playing other sports and swimming for recovery. Not only are kids seeming to play or train for more of the year, during the season many kids are playing on multiple teams of the same sport which involve double the amount of training as well as multiple game days. Those who are doing dancing and gymnastics are invited to increase their hours to more than 20 hours per week in some cases.
So what am I getting at here? If it’s a well rounded sport, your child is having fun and it is keeping them fit then great! Children need about an hour of vigorous exercise every day for physical and mental health. However if they increases to 2 hours or more of vigorous exercise per day it can become detrimental to their health. Furthermore if it is a repetitive sport where they are practicing the same routines or skills over and over it can lead to overuse injuries.
In the past if a child complained of pain it was simply put down to growing pains, which was correct in most cases. Now days I would be less reliant on a child’s pain being a growing pain. If your child is in a situation where they are practicing skills, routines or sports repetitively and they are complaining of pain it is worth getting it checked out if it lasts more than a couple of days or if it is very intense. It could be a stress fracture, tendinopathy, a strained muscle or an issue with a growth plate just to name a few. I’d love to get a bit of a conversation going on here, if you have a comment to make on this topic, please feel free!
If you’d like some advice before coming in for a session please give us a call on (03)98883473 or send us an email to [email protected] alternatively you may like to book online. We have slightly shorter appointments for children as they don’t have the years of build up and cross referral patterns going on yet that adults can often have therefore it is quite reasonably priced to have you child assessed and treated here at Waverley Myotherapy Clinic. For prices please click here.
It’s that time of year when summer sports such as cricket are underway. Training and playing hard to achieve the team goal of becoming the best in the division and ultimately taking out the championship. One of the biggest obstacles in achieving these goals are injuries.
Part of the problem is that sports such as cricket, are seasonal sports so there is opportunity to lose conditioning in cardiovascular endurance as well as sport specific strength over the winter months. Often players then really slog it out and work hard in pre-season, sometimes pushing too hard, another opportunity for lurking injuries to present themselves.
Even at the elite level of cricket as seen by Michael Clarke, who suffers from hamstring tightness and lower back problems, injuries can affect form and your ability to play what you love. So here are some common cricket injuries and some simple ways to prevent them.
Common Cricket injuries
Hamstring tears and/or tightness
Lower back pain
These strategies can help prevent musculoskeletal injuries and to help with overall fitness levels. You could add them to your regime now but they are great to continue with during the off-season and pre-season as well. They will help to reduce risks when coming back to training.
Core strengthening and stability control
Dynamic stretching as a warm up before training and static stretching after training
Dynamic stretching is where you move in and out of the stretch such as in a lunging walk
Static stretching is where you hold the stretch for 30-60 seconds.
Specific cricket strengthening/stretching routine (bio-mechanical analysis)
This may involve rotator cuff muscles for shoulder stability for example. This is where you need someone to assess your strengths and weaknesses and write a program specific for you. This is often done by a Clinical Pilates instructor, Exercise Physiologist or a Myotherapist just to name a few.
Select Physiotherapists, Myotherapists and Exercise Physiologists that have had experience with cricket players in the past will be able to help with this.
General fitness levels (aerobic fitness)
Running, bike riding, swimming and so on. It is good to do a mix of cardio activities to avoid overuse injuries.
Treatment options and advice if an injury occur
RICER (Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate and Refer)
From time of injury and then for 48-72 hours post injury
Avoid HARM (Heat, Alcohol, Running and Massage)
From time of injury and then for 48-72 hours post injury
Early injury treatment or advice
Musculoskeletal experts are great for advice when you injure yourself. Depending on the injury there may be varying treatment options available.
The wait and see approach
We often hear patients say “I thought it was better, the pain had gone and now I’ve done it worse!” Without correct management or rehabilitation a simple ankle injury, for example, can be 85% to 90% recurrent if left untreated with residual symptoms occurring after a lateral ankle sprain affecting 55% to 72% of patients at 6 weeks to 18 months. So just because the pain has gone away, doesn’t mean that full strength and usability has returned to a joint, muscle or tendon. It is always best to get it checked out.
Daniel Bishop is a Clinical Myotherapist at Waverley Myotherapy Clinic. He and colleague Jonathan Ebersberger can help you with any Cricket injuries or questions you may have. Go to http://www.waverleymyotherapyclinic.com.au for more details.