If your child requires physio for the first time you may be confused about what to expect unless you have experience of it yourself.
If your child requires physio for the first time you may be confused about what to expect unless you have experience of it yourself. You will also need to prepare your child for their appointment and depending on your child’s temperament they may be calm or scared.
Here are a few things you need to know about physio for your child:
Explain the situation to your child - Before you head off to physio, talk to your child about their appointment. Tell your child what a physiotherapist is and how they work. Ensure your child wears something comfy to move around and do some gentle exercises. Your child may be worried that they’ll be left alone but reassure them that you’ll be there the whole time. Make sure your child knows they should answer their physiotherapist and say if they are confused by any questions. You may know how your child is feeling and where the pain is, but children may be able to signal other things themselves that will help their rehabilitation. They may need to remove some clothing during their appointment so wear a small pair of shorts under clothes if your child has a leg problem.
Appointment time – Arrive early for your appointment to fill out the registration form and bring a little notebook or colours to distract your child while they wait – anything that keeps them busy. When their name is called lead your little one in and introduce them to their physiotherapist. Your physio will ask some questions directed at you and your child before they do anything. They’ll ask some general things regarding your child’s health, occupation and hobbies and how they are spending their time. Equally, they’ll need to know how the problem started and about their injury.
Assessment time – Your child will need to be assessed and it will be a simple physical examination followed by a diagnosis. You may have had X-rays and other tests prior to your appointment and your physio will look at them too. This will help them design a treatment programme for your kiddie and they will talk to your child about exercise and show them how to best go forward. They may tell your child to take rest from certain activities or tell them to reduce their activities that may be aggravating their rehab. They’ll analyse the standing position, sitting, bending and check your child’s flexibility. Your child may find some things uncomfortable and it they are in pain, they should say so. Your child may feel sore after treatment.
Going forward - The amount of follow up appointments depend on your child’s symptoms, how long they have had them, their fitness level, lifestyle, how good they adhere to their treatment plan and how extensive their injury is. From a parenting point of view, you should encourage your child to follow their treatment plan and allocate time to do so. Some children find it annoying and will complain but offer a treat afterwards or find common ground. Your child needs to know their exercise is key to improving their physical health. Their physio will continue to help and advise until your child is fully recovered.
Emma Hayes is a thirty-something mum of two girls aged 16 and 10, planting her right into the teenage and tween-age years! Follow her on Twitter at @EmmaHayes25.