What Is Physical Therapy for Newborns Like? | We’re all familiar with physical therapy for adults. Whether you’ve suffered an injury from sports or a car accident, or you’ve experienced chronic pain due to an illness, physical therapy has likely been part of your recovery plan. However, this type of therapy is not exclusive to adults.
Newborn babies may also be in need of physical therapy. Whether your baby was born prematurely, suffers from a disorder such as cerebral palsy, or has experienced “container baby syndrome” from lack of activity, a trained physical therapist can help your baby increase mobility and coordination.
If you’ve been prescribed physical therapy for your newborn by your doctor, or if you feel your child would benefit from this type of therapy, reach out to a physical therapist in Scranton, Pa. and get started on treatment right away.
So, what is physical therapy like for infants? Let’s find out.
Children who suffer from a disorder at birth or who are born prematurely may begin life with poor posture and muscle strength. If left untreated, this issue can create chronic pain for them later in life. A trained physical therapist will offer simple exercises for increasing motion, such as in the head. If a baby is unable to lift their head on their own within the first few months of life, physical therapy can address this condition effectively by encouraging movement and strength in the baby’s neck, preventing muscular issues later in life.
Movement and Positioning
A good physical therapist will teach the parents exercise routines and resting positions they can follow at home with their child so they are on the right track when it comes to physical growth. Through a combination of in-person and at-home activities, your PT can help spot and treat conditions that may become unhealthy later in life, such as “flat head syndrome.” This is when a flat spot occurs on a baby’s head due to odd positioning within the womb, or the way the baby rests when sleeping at night. While this may seem like a cosmetic issue and is not usually dangerous, a small percentage of severe cases can lead to the delay of developmental milestones or create vision issues later in life. Your therapist will show you the best positions for sitting and sleeping to improve these risks.
The scope of a physical therapist goes beyond moving muscles and improving posture. Your PT should also have an understanding of your infant’s cognitive abilities and if your child would benefit from attention or memory exercises. This is an important part of therapy for children who suffer from a genetic disorder, brain injury, or a neurologic disease. Often, these cognitive issues and physical issues go hand in hand, and helping an infant through physical exercises will help improve their balance, coordination, and attention skills later in life.