The tween and teen years are a unique time period, and it is helpful to know that kids in adolescence benefit from a physical therapist with unique knowledge and specialization to appropriately address the issues that may arise. Symptoms may look the same as an adult in some cases, such as low back pain or sprains and strains, but the cause of the symptoms and the treatment may vary considerably. Active youth in sports require a physical therapist with an understanding of the effects of training on growing bodies, as well as appropriate training methods and rehabilitation for the unique injuries that can occur during adolescence. At Integral Physical Therapy & Wellness, we take pride in providing comprehensive physical therapy services to adolescents throughout East Cobb, Marietta, and the surrounding areas.
Back Pain In Adolescence
There are many reasons that tweens and teens present with back pain. Sometimes previous injury, muscle overuse, or faulty posture are the problem. Sometimes kids have back pain that is dismissed as growing pains or just a heavy backpack problem, but back pain during adolescence should usually be addressed by a professional. Our therapists thoroughly evaluate this population and often find a root cause that was not apparent to the child or family. Kids are increasingly slouched due to phone use, and now due to online schooling, and their posture needs to be retrained. They need specific stretching and strengthening individual to their case. Treating tender spots with a manual therapy approach, sometimes with dry needling, along with specific stretching and strengthening will help your tween or teen feel better and function better quickly. Back pain related to a sport will require sport-specific performance analysis and exercise prescription. It is a common condition in many athletes due to tight muscles or less than optimal form and sometimes overuse. Your child will learn postural strategies and exercises to help manage and prevent future episodes as well.
Headaches During Adolescence
Headaches during adolescence are often multi-factorial. Sometimes kids aren’t drinking enough water, which is one of the more common causes of headache. But recurrent headaches that don’t respond to hydration or a better night’s sleep might indicate the need for a PT evaluation as part of a multidisciplinary approach. There could be genetic triggers for headaches such as familial migraines, or food sensitivities that need to be discovered and addressed. Our doctors of physical therapy can refer you to some awesome physicians and nutritionists if need be. Or there could just be postural and musculoskeletal causes such as muscle overuse or trigger points. A thorough PT evaluation can be very helpful in identifying possible muscle or postural causes, or contributors. Many kids respond very well to PT interventions including stretching, strengthening, postural retraining, and muscle release techniques. Looking at the surrounding regions such as the jaw, cervical spine, and shoulders for postural or muscle issues is important. Research shows that even if there are other causes, PT can be very helpful in reducing the severity and intensity of headaches.
Scoliosis & Kyphosis In Adolescence
Traditionally, surgery and bracing were the available options for these conditions. However, there are an increasing number of therapists that specialize in techniques to address the muscle imbalances that accompany these conditions, often with very positive results. One of my favorite patients reduced his kyphosis from 48 degrees to 21 degrees with 16 sessions of PT. Both of these conditions can cause back pain (although not always) and there are many techniques and exercises we can do to alleviate or prevent this pain. Loosening areas of tightness and strengthening areas of weakness are pivotal especially during the growing years when spinal curves can change. Even adults can experience improvement in curvature when given the right exercises and treatments.
Physical Therapy for Dancers
From the youngest of tiny dancers to the older teens, growing dancers are susceptible to distinct injuries and require a knowledgeable therapist. Dancers are athletes with unique demands in terms of time devoted to the sport as well as physical requirements. Addressing pain and injury as soon as possible is helpful in preventing further injury and getting the dancer back to top form quickly. Our therapists use a holistic approach and connect dancers to other professionals such as specialized physicians, sports nutritionists, or mental health coaches when needed.
Gymnastics Physical Therapy
Gymnastics specific evaluation and treatment are important for the injured gymnast. Prevention is a passion of our team here at Integral Physical Therapy, and there is a lot of relatively newer information about preventing some of the common gymnastics injuries as well as rehabbing existing injuries. Helping these athletes to identify areas of concern such as biomechanics, motor control, strength, and flexibility can be game-changing. We use the latest in sport-specific exercise techniques and treatments.
We offer baseline and postconcussion ImPACT testing as well as thorough post-concussion assessments and treatment. We also offer concussion education to local coaches, athletes, and parents. Very often parents aren’t quite sure what to do after a child or teen is concussed: what first steps should be, what therapies might need to be involved. We can help streamline that process for you. In addition to preseason baseline ImPACT testing, we offer multimodal testing: a series of physical and cognitive tests in order to have a more thorough baseline assessment. These tests can offer us objective data which we can compare with post-concussion testing should someone sustain a concussion. It can be difficult to make safe return to play decisions, and objective data can be invaluable. Players often report that symptoms have resolved days to weeks before the brain has recovered, and we want to avoid Second Impact Syndrome at all costs.