At Suarez Physical Therapy, we provide exceptional care for our pediatric patients. While working as a physical therapist at Sunrise Hospital Outpatient program in 2002, Edwin Suarez worked with many pediatric patients and gained much experience helping children recover from injury or gain functional independence with chronic conditions. To date, Edwin Suarez, with his clinicians, continues to provide exceptional physical therapy services to adults and pediatric patients. We handle many different pediatric cases but not limited to the following conditions in Las Vegas.
Physical therapy is crucial for children living with cerebral palsy. Physicians recommend physical therapy for all children with cerebral palsy irrespective of how mild or severe the condition. Children who have cerebral palsy have varying levels of muscle control, mobility, and balance, depending on the severity of the disease. At Suarez Physical Therapy, we assist children suffering from cerebral palsy by helping them with balance, crawling, posture, walking, climbing, and muscle strengthening exercises. Our physical therapy sessions help children suffering from cerebral palsy to:
- Rise above or overcome their physical limitation
- Achieve some level of independence
- Improve their range of motion
- Build their muscle tone
- Learn or understand adaptive equipment, including how to use them
- Decrease the chances or likelihood of bone deformity
- Increase flexibility, fitness, posture, and balance
- Reduce pain and physical discomfort
Children with cerebral palsy reap a wide range of benefits from physical therapy. Through our services, the children can overcome the physical limitations that often interfere with their daily lives. Our physical therapists will create a personalized, in-depth treatment plan to suit their unique needs. Every child is unique and has different strengths and weaknesses. We do not adopt a one-size-fits-all approach when creating a treatment plan for our children. We create an individualized treatment plan for every child to ensure that the program helps with cerebral palsy's side effects. We believe that children deserve a chance in life, irrespective of their condition. Some of the common side effects of cerebral palsy that children often struggle with include:
- Limited range of motion
- Muscle atrophy
- Loss of joint function
- Pain in the muscles and joints
- Muscle spasticity
- Rigid muscles
- Joint inflammation
Before a child starts a physical therapy session, we conduct an in-depth medical history and physical exam. We also conduct other tests and physical examinations to help assess the child's muscle function and mechanics. Afterward, we create a care plan based on the child's test results.
Our physical therapists will also set goals for the child's progress and work with them to achieve those goals. Our physical therapists will manipulate a child's body, complete games, strength exercises, and stretches with a specific purpose. The number of required physical therapy sessions will vary depending on several factors, including the child's prescribed treatment. Our therapists will also recommend exercises to be done at home and train the child's parent or caregiver.
Torticollis is a condition that involves the muscles of the neck. The condition causes the head to tilt downward. The alternative name for torticollis is wryneck. Your baby may have the condition at birth, commonly known as congenital muscular torticollis. This is the most common type of torticollis. A child may also develop the condition after birth, commonly referred to as acquired torticollis. Acquired torticollis could be linked to other severe medical issues.
Each side of the neck contains muscles running from the back of the ear to the collarbone and shoulder blade. These muscles are known as the sternocleidomastoid (SCM), trapezius, and levator scapulae. If an infant has torticollis, these muscles are shortened on one side. These muscles may be shortened if your child was cramped in the womb or if he/she was in an abnormal position. This might exert excessive pressure on one side of the infant's head, causing the tightening of the SCM, trapezius, and levator scapulae muscles, consequently, resulting in an abnormal head position shortly after birth.
Initially, you may not notice any torticollis symptoms. The symptom may not be noticeable when a child is between 6 and 8 weeks. You may only start seeing signs of torticollis when a child begins gaining more control of their neck and head.
Infant Torticollis Stretching Techniques
Our clinicians at Suarez Physical Therapy will guide you on performing stretching exercises to help correct torticollis. The typical activities include:
- Stretching and positioning during play, sleep and feedings
- Side-bending and extension exercises
- Rotational head-turning exercises
- Helping the child play while on their stomach
- Carrying the child
The stretching and play exercises vary depending on whether the child has a right or left torticollis. Our physical therapists will guide you on how you can use rolled-up baby towels and blankets to keep your child's head in a neutral position in bed and in the car seat. A physical therapist will also show you how you can encourage a child to move their head to stretch and strengthen the neck muscles. When should you seek professional help? Some of the indicators that your child could be suffering from torticollis include:
- Your child tilts their head to one side with their chin pointed in the opposite direction.
- The child's head doesn't turn to the side or up and down easily.
- Your baby has a soft lump in their neck.
- When looking at you, your baby prefers to look over the shoulder.
- You experience trouble breastfeeding because your child prefers to nurse on one side only.
- Your baby often struggles to turn towards you.
- You notice a flat head on one side of the baby's head due to lying down on one side.
Spina Bifida results when a baby's spine and the spinal cord fail to develop properly while in the womb resulting in a gap in the spine. Spina bifida is a common neural tube defect. A neural tube refers to the structure that eventually develops and forms the baby's spinal cord and brain. The neural tube formation usually starts during early pregnancy and stops within four weeks after conception.
Spina bifida occurs when part of the neural tube fails to develop adequately, and this leads to a defect in the spinal cord and the spine vertebrae (bones in the spine). It is not clear what causes Spina bifida. However, a deficiency of folic acid in the early stages of pregnancy is a common risk factor. There are three types of spina bifida:
- Spina bifida occulta
The most severe form of spina bifida is the myelomeningocele. This condition occurs when a baby's spinal canal remains open. The spinal cord, together with the protective membranes, pushes out, forming a sac in the baby's back. Meningocele is also a severe type of spina bifida whereby the protective membranes surrounding the spine push out through the spine. However, in the case of the meningocele, the spine develops normally. Therefore, a child can undergo surgery to remove the protective membranes without affecting the spine.
Spina bifida occulta is a mild and the most common type of spina bifida. In this case, a child's one or more vertebrae do not form properly and leave a tiny gap in the child’s spine. This type of spina bifida does not exhibit any symptoms, and most parents are not even aware that their children have it.
Common Symptoms of Spina Bifida
Some of the common symptoms that manifest in children with spina bifida include:
- Partial or complete lower extremity paralysis
- Altered sensation
- Poor bladder and bowel controls
- Excessive fluid in the brain (hydrocephalus), secondary effects of the altered muscle control
Physical Therapy for Children With Spina Bifida
Spina bifida could significantly affect your child's functional activities. The condition may affect your child's ability to walk, dress, or participate in games while at school. It is advisable to start physical therapy sessions as soon as possible to maximize your child's functional potential. Physical exercises will also help to prevent complications, as your child gets older. Our physical therapists at Suarez Physical Therapy will first assess your child and determine their range of motion, balance, strength, and sensation. They will then develop an individualized treatment option for your child. Our program will aim at helping your child to:
- Perform activities like sitting, walking, and transferring
- Help your child correct their posture while sitting, lying, or standing.
- Prevent the development of contractures by helping your child perform muscle stretches
- Exercises aimed at improving coordination and balance to help prevent risks of falls and injuries
- Exercises to help improve mobility and strength
- Recommend and train patient / parents in durable medical equipment (i.e. walker) and orthotics (i.e. ankle-foot orthotic-AFO) management
We will tailor your child's rehabilitation program at Suarez Physical Therapy to their individual needs. This will ensure that the child gets the most out of the treatment program.
Scoliosis is a spine deformity that occurs when the spine has a side-to-side curve that often measures 10 degrees or more. When looked at from behind, a normal spine appears straight. However, if a child has scoliosis, their spine will have a C or an S shape. You may notice that your child looks like they are leaning on one side. The curve on the spine may appear on the right or the left side of the spine. The cause of scoliosis is not known. A child might be born with the condition, and they may acquire it later in life. Scoliosis is common in children between children of ages 10 and 18, affecting more girls than boys. Some of the possible causes of scoliosis are:
- Problems in the nervous system including muscular dystrophy and cerebral palsy
- Inherited conditions running in families.
- A difference in leg lengths
Physical Therapy for Children With Scoliosis
Physical therapy is relevant through all treatment phases for scoliosis. There are three main stages in scoliosis treatment:
- Physical therapy
Irrespective of the treatment, stage your child is in, physical therapy will be useful. It does not matter whether the child has recently had surgery or is in the bracing stage. No matter the stage of scoliosis your child is in, our physical therapy sessions at Suarez Physical Therapy will be beneficial. Our experts will tailor an individualized treatment plan depending on the severity of the condition and treatment stage. Our physical therapy treatment options for this condition include:
- Range motion exercises
- Strength training
- Manual therapy
- Thoraco-lumbar mechanical decompression
The outlined are just a section of our physical therapy procedures for scoliosis treatment. Our physical therapist will work with your child to determine the most appropriate treatment approach.
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
Traumatic brain injury is the leading cause of disability and death in children. Pediatric TBI has several distinctive characteristics that differ from those in adults. The varying characteristics are due to age-related physiological and anatomical differences and the different patterns of injuries. Traumatic brain injury in children often results from a blow, bump, or jolts to a child's head or body, leading to disruption of normal brain function.
A TBI may cause focal brain injury, diffuse injury, or both. The symptoms of traumatic brain injury will vary depending on the location of the damage, the child's age, and the severity of the injury. A traumatic injury could be mild, moderate, or severe. The most common causes of traumatic brain injury include falls, blows to the head, and car crashes. Our physical therapists at Suarez Physical Therapy help children with traumatic brain injury regain their brain function, restore their wellness and fitness, and re-learn daily tasks. You can tell that your child has suffered a traumatic brain injury based on:
- Physical symptoms like difficulty moving the arms or the legs
- Impaired balance
- Cognitive symptoms like a hard time concentrating or difficulty remembering
- Sensory symptoms like changes in hearing, vision, or sense of touch
- Behavioral and emotional symptoms like difficulty controlling emotions or a change in a personality
Our physical therapists will work with the child and their caregivers to create a treatment plan that suits their needs. The experts will also set goals to which they will continuously refer to assess the child's progress. We will create a treatment plan that addresses the functional limitations and challenges of the injury. The treatment plan will depend on the patient's problems, the patients' consciousness level, and the severity of the traumatic brain injury.
We help children in a dependent state with equipment and positioning that enhance flexibility and proper posture. This helps prevent the likelihood of conditions like bedsores and improves a patient's responsiveness. A dependent state is a stage where the patient's essential functions like eye-opening, digestive, and sleep or wake cycle have resumed, but the patient is unaware of their surroundings.
When a person is in a minimally conscious state, they will show signs of awareness though the signs are often not consistent. Our physical therapists will help your child increase consistent responses to commands for communication and movement during this stage.
As the child continues to improve, becoming conscious, and participates in physical therapy more actively, our experts will combine task-specific training, exercise, patient education, and other strategies to help the child improve. Our treatment plans for children who have suffered traumatic brain injury include:
- Helping the children follow commands and maintain alertness
- Enhancing joint and muscle flexibility, which might have reduced due to inactivity
- Helping a child to move or sit without support
- Helping the child to balance safely while standing, sitting, or walking
- Enhance a child's ability to move by practicing functional activities
- Enhancing a child's coordination and balance
- Helping a child restore energy, strength and overcome feelings of fatigue that often result from inactivity
- Helping a child to resume their normal activities, including returning to fitness activities and sports.
At Suarez Physical Therapy, we also conduct development assessments to help identify a child's developmental delays. Some of the developmental assessment tools that we provide at Suarez Physical Therapy include:
Alberta Infant Motor Scale (AIMS)
AIMS is a performance-based theoretically sound measure for motor maturation in a child from term to the age of independent walking. The children are monitored from birth up to when they attain 18 months. This measure helps to assess a child's sequential development of motor skills. It determines the progressive development and integration of antigravity muscle control in four positions:
Peabody Developmental Motor Scales Second Edition (PDMS-2)
We use the Peabody developmental motor scales-second edition and clinical observation to assess a child's motor skills. This standardized test measures the motor skills of children between 18 months and five years.
The measurement considers several skill categories: stationery, locomotor, and object manipulation. Our physical therapists administer the Gross Motor scale measurement. If a child scores low in the object manipulation section, a physical therapist may refer them to an occupational therapist for further evaluation.
Find a Peds Physical Therapist Near Me
Children suffering from congenital or acquired conditions that impair their mobility and motor skills deserve a second chance in life. At Suarez Physical Therapy, we provide individualized Physical Therapy treatment plans for children suffering from a wide range of conditions. We handle children who have cerebral palsy, spina bifida, traumatic brain injury, scoliosis, and torticollis. We have been providing Peds Physical Therapy services for many years. You can be sure that your child will be safe with us. Our treatment programs aim at helping children attain some level of independence and improve their motor skills. If you seek the best Peds physical therapy services in Las Vegas, Nevada, contact us at 702-368-6778 and speak to one of our physical therapists.