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    The History Of Pediatric Physical Therapy

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    Pediatric physical therapists work to help disabled children and their families grow and become stronger every day. For about a century now, doctors have been making a valiant effort to improve the lives of children. Though it is not the most popular practice, pediatric physical therapy is certainly important to the lives of millions. Since the beginning of pediatrics, new discoveries are constantly being made. Pediatric physical therapy has been making ground breaking developments and progressions in all of its elements since it became popular in the 1920’s.

    “Ever since [pediatric physical therapy] was born during the polio epidemic of the 1920s, these therapists have relied upon an impressive array of techniques” (Hackethal). A technique most commonly used is a treatment plan. The therapists first find the source of the patient’s physical difficulties, then they use a treatment plan accordingly. The main goal or objective of any doctor is to help their patients. In order to help pediatric patients, tolerance is essential. The doctors are there not only to help their patients grow stronger, but to also comfort them and their families. “Providing expert consultation to school and daycare is often the therapist ‘s responsibility as well” (Hackethal). These doctors are constantly changing over time. Therapists must continue to modernize their practice and keep up to date in order to give the best care to their patients.

    Thanks to the advancement of this practice, the patients improve more rapidly than ever. During the beginning of pediatric physical therapy practice, especially during the polio epidemic, patients would suffer greatly. There was not much anybody could do for them except help numb the pain a little. Today, the benefits of pediatric physical therapy are limitless. “Children with cerebral palsy, spina bifida, developmental delays, and torticollis are among the people who can benefit from pediatric physical therapy” (Weiss). The children’s ages can range from infancy to adolescence. Younger children do not necessarily enjoy physical therapy; mostly because they do not understand what is going on or why they are attending physical therapy. The older children, however, do not seem to mind physical therapy near as much. No one loves it because it does hurt. There is a thin line between stretching the child’s limits far enough but not too far. Over time, the children have been stretching their limits further and further. There is not a sure reason of why this is, but there has been a large change in the children’s pain tolerance. Some suggest that because of new medicine and different technology being used by therapists, it results in more tolerable pain.

    The technology used in pediatric physical therapy has changed the most over the years. Today, the use for technology is unbelievable. Hospitals and practices are filled with cutting edge technology that assist the patients in their healing journey. There are some things that therapists cannot help the patients with as well as the technology. When pediatric physical therapy first became popular in the 1920’s, all the technology they had were small pools to help eliminate the pain the children were experiencing. Children with polio were almost always put in small pools. They would usually float around for a while and sometimes do exercises with their arms and legs to help build muscle. Even with the advanced technology used today, pools and Jacuzzis are still commonly used. Pool therapy is an amazing therapy that children generally enjoy. “The unique properties of the aquatic environment enhance interventions for patients/clients across the age span with musculoskeletal, neuromuscular, cardiovascular/pulmonary, and integumentary diseases, disorders, or conditions” (Aquatic Physical Therapy Section). Technology being used right now by pediatric physical therapists are continuing to change the lives of many and always will.

    The developments and progresses pediatric physical therapy has been making over the past decade have been astonishing. These developments are clearly seen throughout the doctors within their care for patients and change of techniques. Patients are also changing with time, as their pain tolerance is becoming higher, thanks to the new techniques and technology. Technology has been the biggest game changer in the past century. With the new advancements coming out every day, there is a higher success rate within the patient’s recovery process as well as impressive success within pediatric physical therapist’s careers. Pediatric physical therapy is continuing to change and always will. The past in this field of medicine has shown that the future will hold only great things.

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    The History Of Pediatric Physical Therapy. (2019, May 02). Retrieved from

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