Kim Harmon, PT, DPT
Many people think of back pain as an adult problem. However, children and adolescents can also be affected by back pain. There are a number of possible causes including an injury (such as a strain or sprain), poor posture, poor core muscle strength, and scoliosis.
Children and adolescents with back pain should see a physician to begin the evaluation process. It is important to make sure that there are not any fractures and to screen for other conditions that may affect the treatment process.
Physical therapy has been proven to help back pain and can be an integral part of decreasing pain, improving range of motion and strength, and facilitating pain-free return to activity. In physical therapy, we begin with the physical therapy evaluation, which gives us a baseline of what causes pain and what each patient is able to do before treatment begins. We often begin treatment with a focus on decreasing pain, inflammation, and muscle spasm and regaining pain-free range of motion. When appropriate, we progress to strengthening weak muscles and performing functional activities with proper body mechanics. Strengthening core and postural muscles is very important because these muscles enable us to maintain proper posture throughout the day and help support our spine when we are participating in functional activities and sports. We often incorporate a Dynamic Stabilization Exercise program, which can be progressed for all levels of athletes: from the beginner to the elite. It is important to instruct the patient in proper form and core recruitment in order to learn the necessary stabilization required for correct movement patterns.
Our goal at All Sports Medicine is to get our patient back to participating in their favorite activities, including sports. Therefore, within physical therapy we also assess and work to correct biomechanics; from lifting to squatting to throwing. Depending on the patient’s prior activity level and needs for returning to sport, we also progress their exercises and give them the knowledge to continue strengthening after discharge from physical therapy by providing a thorough home exercise program, customized to each patient.
Physical therapy at Johns Hopkins All Children’s is provided in an atmosphere developed for teen athletes with a one to one ratio for the highest quality of care needed for maximum outcomes and return to play. Allsports physical therapy will get you back in the game!