In order to achieve certain therapeutic outcomes as part of the rehabilitation process, a programme of exercises is commonly necessary. Exercises can range from performing specific stretches, joint and limb movements, and balance and co-ordination activities, to muscle strengthening and conditioning, gait (walking) re-education, and specific functional activities. Exercise rehabilitation is commonly an important component of neurodevelopmental therapy and sensory integration.
In this sense, the use of ‘exercise’ can be seen as providing the necessary components for improved functional activity and normal movement. It does not necessarily mean going for a run or lifting weights in the gym. In fact, when it comes to exercise rehabilitation for children, we have found that goals are more successfully achieved when the process is fun, meaningful, and specific to their age and needs. As such, exercise rehabilitation for babies, toddlers and young children usually involves lots of play, along with sensory integration / stimulation using toys and equipment with different colours, textures and sounds. It may also involve encouraging basic movement patterns and functional activities such as rolling, sitting, standing from sitting, and the facilitation of normal development.
Older children and teenagers respond well to exercises that motivate them and improve their self-esteem. They need to make sense of the exercises, and be able to relate them to their difficulties, their specific condition and their personal goals of treatment. Following an injury to a joint or soft tissue structure, physiotherapy intervention may involve incorporating core strengthening and sport-specific exercises into the later stages of rehabilitation, in order to work towards a full and safe return to sport, whether this is tennis, ballet, martial arts or simply P.E at school.
Other children may have more complex or long-term injuries, and profound difficulties. Exercise rehabilitation for these individuals may be directed at restoring limb movement, improving muscle strength and co-ordination, and re-training basic functional activities, for example unsupported sitting, wheelchair transfers and gait.
It is essential therefore that physiotherapy is always child-centred and remains understanding of the needs and personal goals of each individual, in conjunction with the support from their parents, irrespective of their age and disability / injury.
Exercise therapy can take place at a child’s home, school or within one of our designated physiotherapy clinics. Our clinics have access to a wide variety of equipment to facilitate rehabilitation, and a pool for hydrotherapy treatment if this is considered an appropriate option. We can always adapt a clinic-based programme to be continued at home and at school to ensure ongoing rehabilitation.
For more information about the type of exercise rehabilitation we can provide, or to find out about any of our other services, please contact one of the Yorkshire Children’s Physiotherapy team who will be happy to chat with you and answer any queries you may have.
To arrange an appointment or to speak to one of our team, please contact our Clinical Director Sarah Joice on 07908 684441. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org