Children are the most ignored group when it comes to health care and manual therapy in our clinics. Parents living a busy life are mostly reactive when their child complains of some pain or injury. At this point, they rush to seek advice on what to do next and are very committed to getting things right.
Of course, we want the best for our children, it’s just we expect something has to go wrong before we fix it.
Clinically most children’s complaints are easily managed but even more important, is how many things could have been prevented.
Having an Osteopath look at your children’s posture, foot structure, walking pattern, spine and muscle balance can have some lifelong implications. The majority of adults I see with degenerative Osteo Arthritis in the knee and hip, could have been prevented if they addressed the issue as a child.
However, it wasn’t a problem then. It didn’t hurt, and it certainly wasn’t worth worrying about. Now, for them, it’s a different story.
So as a parent what can you do?
Take a moment and observe your child when the next chance is right. This is best done from ages 4+. Younger children have more specific requirements.
- Are they symmetrical and even? Front to back. Left and right. Tilt, sway, curvature etc. can be a sign that we can help.
- Look at how they walk. Do their knees knock, are their feet too flat, or are their toes pointing out or in different directions.
- Look for the obvious wearing of their shoes. Are the heels being eaten away excessively or quickly?
- Watch them seated. Do they struggle to sit upright? Is their spine really hunched?
- Do they complain? Even if it infrequently of pain, stiffness, irritability and fatigue. Cramping and tightness too.
- Can they touch their toes, whilst standing with their knees straight?
- They have experienced pain in the past that was resolved with treatment but hasn’t really been looked into again.
If you become aware of any of the above then it would be a great idea to get them checked because health is about prevention NOT pain relief.
Usually managing children is easy and does not require constant care. Getting the right advice and teaching children the importance of posture modification is often enough to get things right. Sometimes it is best to hear it from someone else other than a parent, that’s where we come in!