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Kids have pain too!!

Ring Around the Rosie     School aged kids are often the most underserved age group experiencing pain from sports related injuries .  Children with disabilities may experience discomfort and pain that need to be addressed through physical therapy, occupational therapy or speech therapy.  Oftentimes parents I treat in my practice see the value and importance of these professional protocols as a means of also helping their kids.

Lots of kids involved in sports who have true injuries end up in sports based PT for rehab, but the kids I never see in my practice are the middle or high school girls and boys with true musculoskeletal issues: neck and back pain, muscle tension or pain, and headache.

Many middle school kids will hit a huge growth spurt during puberty.  The long bones of the arms and legs may grow faster than the muscles and tendons which is often painful.  I remember complaining to my mom of knee pain at this age.  This may cause muscle pain and tightness that may benefit from joint and soft tissue mobilization.  This type of treatment loosens the muscle tightness of the muscle belly as well as the attachment site of the muscle which may be pulling strongly and causing pain and tightness.  Joint mobilization is effective in lubricating stiff and painful joints just like adding oil to the engine of your car.

Kids spend a lot of time sitting whether they are in the classroom or at home studying or watching TV.  These prolonged postures can lead to neck or back pain.   Muscle stiffness is under appreciated as a significant cause of pain.  Stretching and moving more are often very easy to incorporate into our lifestyle and can make a big impact on muscle pain.  These are also great habits to teach kids at an early age.  Kids who don’t play organized school sports may also get injured riding bikes or skiing.  As a parent I know how easy it is to tell my kids that “it’s no big deal, it’ll be better in a few days”.

Headaches also seem to be missed in kids.  Often headaches are due to muscle tension in the neck but may be caused by true head trauma.  Joint and soft tissue mobilization of the thoracic and cervical spine as well as CranioSacral Therapy are usually very effective in managing headaches.

Pain production is largely misunderstood.  We know that people perceive pain differently, some people have a high pain threshold and some people have a low threshold.  What I’ve learned in 26 years of treating people in pain is that it doesn’t matter if they are a “wimp” or “really tough” when it comes to perceived pain level,  that is still “their pain”.  Also it is important to pay attention to what our body communicates to us through arising pain.  Stretching and ice are always my first advice, but when symptoms don’t improve in a week or two, it may be time to consider professional treatment.

For more information call Mary Boyd, MS, PT at 290-5575.  You can also find more information via www.SandpointPhysicalTherapy.com .

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