Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A day in the life - Physiotherapy

Today I thought I would do a little post about Physiotherapy. Before I had Joshua, I thought of a Physiotherapist as being someone who helps people after they injure themselves playing sport. I had no idea that they also help children with developmental concerns and disabilities.
Joshua was 12 weeks old the first time that he saw a physiotherapist. It followed a diagnosis of Hypertonia or high muscle tone, which was made by his doctor who then referred him to physio. You see, a physio knows all about muscles, what they are supposed to feel like, how they are supposed to move, ways to stretch them and can give ideas on how to encourage normal patterns of movement, which in turn helps a child's overall development, specifically in terms of their motor development.
Paediatric Physiotherapists try to engage children in what they need to do using toys and fun activities, but it is not all fun and games unfortunately!

Joshua really hates doing stretches, so sometimes physiotherapy can seem more like torture! But, it is a necessary evil for a child with Cerebral Palsy where it can be a 'use it or lose it' scenario. It is human nature to try and find the easiest way to do something, or to not do things that we find difficult. Because Joshua finds his right side much harder, even painful, to use, he simply finds a way of moving that allows him to not use it. If we let him do that, then eventually those muscles would remain contracted and he would lose the ability to move them voluntarily... So.. On with the torture we go :). Here are some photos of Joshua with his physio Maggie. Joshua sees Maggie 1-2 times per week at the moment, and the rest of the time it is up to us to do his stretches and implement her advice. She is also going to be visiting his child care and showing his support worker how to do stretches etc. which is good for me, because the more other people torture him, the less I have to! (well that is my theory) LOL.

Joshua doing sit to stand from his little chair
Joshua in long sitting (which is very difficult for him due to the tone in his legs)
Joshua over the ball while Maggie stretches his legs (the ball is really just distracting him from the fact he is being stretched!)
On his back kicking and screaming
Backwards over the ball while having his legs stretched.  

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