There are many different conditions that can cause gait and balance difficulties. Walking is a very complicated sequence of muscles and nerves firing at the right time and the right place. Typically children progress through normal stages of walking development, from standing holding onto objects, to cruising, walking with arms out and up for balance, to smoother walking and finally running. Problems with balance and walking difficulties can often show up with running and playing, especially on unsteady surfaces such as grass. Having a child walk or run backwards, can show just what muscle motor patterns may be affected.
Children that start to fall behind often have problems with coordination, balance and strength. This can be slight or quite significant. In addition, conditions such as Cerebral Palsy can create excessive firing of muscles (hypertonia), making normal walking patterns, rigid, spastic and very difficult.
How Pediatric Therapy Helps
Our pediatric physical therapists typically work with children having delays or difficulty with walking. However, at times our pediatric occupational therapists will be involved in helping children with improving their muscle motor movements to facilitate improved walking. Our therapists evaluate your child’s posture, joint movement, muscle strength, balance and coordination on a variety of surfaces.
This paints a picture of what specific sequences or areas may need addressing. A thorough plan is then put together that may involve strengthening, balance, and coordination exercises. Additionally, exercises and working on activities to perform at home can help your child practice proper walking for their age and development. The goal of pediatric therapy is to attain great results for your child while making therapy a fun, playful, and engaging activity.
Few things are worse than having constant pain in your neck, back, or joints in the morning. Even the easiest things, such as get out of bed or putting on your shoes, can be difficult for those struggling with morning aches and pains.
Did you know you can improve the function of these parts of your body in the morning with the aid of a physical therapist? Physical therapists can provide you with exercises and stretches to alleviate pain and discomfort. They also help recover the normal range of movement and reduce pain and inflammation.
To learn more about how a physical therapist can help you achieve the positive start you’re looking for in the morning, keep reading! If you’re dealing with aches and pains, contact Therapy Care to schedule a consultation ASAP.
The importance of stretching
Stretching is an important part of one’s daily routine, whether you’re exercising or not. Modern-day life involves a lot of sitting down, from our jobs to our hobbies. Over time, this can lead to tightness and shortening of muscles in areas of the body like the hip flexors, shoulders, chest, and ankles.
Stretching increases your blood circulation. Muscles require sufficient oxygen and nutrients in order to perform well. Stretching ramps up blood flow and transports oxygen and nutrients.
Performing daily stretches also heightens your energy levels due to the increased circulation it brings. Learning to stretch properly will lead you to a more active lifestyle. In fact, according to results of a new systematic review, moderate-grade evidence seems to support strengthening and stretching exercises to help ease chronic neck pain.”
Top 3 stretches to feel better in the morning
Stretching isn’t only for warming up or cooling down when you’re working out at the gym. The purpose of stretching is to get your body feeling limbered up and flexible. If you go about your whole day feeling stiff, of course you’re going to feel achy and awful when you wake up!
By committing to a few simple morning stretches each day, you can help to keep your body feeling limber and reduce pain in between your regular physical therapy appointments. Some of the best stretches to use early in your day include:
Low Back Stretch
Are you dealing with recurring low back pain in the mornings? Then this simple physical therapy stretch can provide you with a great deal of relief.
Start by laying down on your back, bending your knees, and keeping your feet flat on the floor.
Use both hands to pull up one knee towards your chest, while keeping the other foot flat on the floor.
Next, bring your active leg back to the starting position and repeat the stretch with the opposite leg. Keeping the other foot flat on the floor. Lastly, bring both knees to your chest at once. Hold each position for 20 to 30 seconds and repeat stretch at least 3 times.
If you suffer from arthritis in the knees or low back pain, this is a great stretch to complete before beginning your day.
Child’s pose is a very popular move in yoga routines. It is a great stretch for connective tissue and joint pain as well!
Start the pose by kneeling in bed, then sitting back so that your bottom is resting comfortably on your heels. Next, gently bend your body forward until your head touches the mattress.
It can be helpful to then stretch your arms out and fold them in front of your face for additional support. Once you’ve eased into the position, you can then reach your arms out forward to help open the connective tissues in your neck, shoulders, and back area.
Hold the pose for at least 2 minutes and repeat if necessary.
The Inchworm is another physical therapy stretch that is great for relieving joint pain and improving circulation in the mornings.
Start by standing with your abs engaged. Slowly roll down, bending at the knee if necessary, and touch the floor. Walk your hands forward, until you are in the push-up position. Then walk your feet forward, inch-by-inch, until you reach the back of your hands. Slowly roll your body back up into a standing position. Repeat the stretch at least 5 times, with your core engaged each time.
Physical therapy can change the way you look at mornings…
If you struggle with aches and pain every morning, there’s no doubt you aren’t enjoying the beginnings of your days. You deserve to wake up feeling good and refreshed. If you’re dealing with pain, you should speak with our physical therapist sooner rather than later about creating a personalized treatment plan. There’s no reason to start your day off in pain and suffering through feelings of discomfort!
Are you interested in learning more about the many benefits of physical therapy for pain management? Contact Therapy Care for more information and be sure to schedule an initial consultation with our friendly and experienced physical therapist today.