What a physiotherapist can do for your child

What a physiotherapist can do for your child

May 19, 2015 - 8:00 am
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Physiotherapy duo share their best successes at helping children


As an occupational therapist, I work most often with physiotherapists. I recently had a conversation with a mother seeking help for her child and she wasn't sure if her child should be seeing a physiotherapist or an occupational therapist or both.

So to help followers learn a little more about what physiotherapy can offer children, I interviewed Jessica Holland, PT and Colleen McQuaid, PT. They are the physiotherapists at Complete Balance Physiotherapy Clinic in Rothesay, New Brunswick, Canada. When the clinic opened their doors a while ago now, I paid a visit to introduce myself and was very pleased to learn of their strong backgrounds in paediatrics. My team and I are always looking for private physiotherapists (in addition to our public pediatric PTs) to help the children and families we treat.

When asked what they found the most straightforward, yet under utilized physiotherapy treatment they can offer children, both Jessica and Colleen said, "Torticollis!" Torticollis simply means a stiff neck associated with muscle spasm. Most often occurring as an injury during birth,

Jessica and Colleen have both treated infants and young children with torticollis, most often between one month old and three years old.

Jessica relayed her most rewarding physiotherapy intervention with a child was treating a six-month old girl for torticollis. Without treatment her gross motor development would have continued to be delayed because of her limited head movement.  This motor delay could have indeed impacted other areas of her development if left untreated.  Torticollis limited her ability to roll, to move, to see around her. Vision and movement are so critical to early development. With two to three months of physiotherapy treatment she no longer had any issues.

Colleen shared the story of her most rewarding pediatric physiotherapy clients to date; treating 11-month- old twins. When she started seeing them, the twins had significant gross motor delays; they didn't roll over or sit up and had little motivation to move or explore their environment. With bi-weekly physiotherapy of one to two hours and most critically, Colleen teaching their parents how to help their infants every day, after a few months they were rolling and sitting, one was starting to crawl and the other could stand and hold herself up.

Such dramatic improvement, after even just a little physiotherapy help, changes the course of children's lives.


Colleen and Jessica have also both taken advanced courses on vestibular rehabilitation. And vestibular rehabilitation, the right protocol of rest, activity and exercise, is critical post-concussion. They have been grateful for opportunities to work with sports teams, most often hockey and football teams to treat and prevent concussions.

Bringing fun into physiotherapy treatment, be it an orthopedic injury like a broken leg and learning to walk all over again; a neurological problem like concussion and returning to the game; a global developmental delay and finding the right way to learn motor skills, physiotherapy goes well with children.


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