Massage Therapy – Cerebral Palsy
- Posted by seth
- On March 25, 2023
- 0 Comments
- Children, Massage Therapy, Rehabilitation, Treatment
If your child is an existing patient of All About Kids Rehabilitation Centre in Mississauga or All About Physiotherapy Performance Centre in Etobicoke, they you know our physiotherapists really focus on breaking down your child’s functional goals to actually get results!
Our physiotherapists don’t just practice the functional goal of walking or stairs or crawling – we practice the components of those movements Before anything, we work on achieving the range of motion needed for those goals in the first place!
From a physiotherapy perspective, that includes ACTIVE stretches, where muscles are loaded during the stretch and required to activate in prolonged positions. A great example is doing straight leg deadlifts or long legged sitting and reaching, as opposed to much less effective passive hamstring stretches.
We need a certain range of motion and muscles flexibility available to achieve optimal postures and movements.
We also NEED the resistance through that range of motion to be be minimal for the posture or movement to be long enough to produce change. In other words, it should be easy enough for our patients to WANT to initiate and participate in therapy, and even better, to apply it outside of therapy!
The more resistance in range, the harder it is for the opposite muscle to fight the tight or restricted muscle to achieve the desired posture or movement.
Massage therapy is an amazing adjunct for achieving:
- More range of motion available
- Less resistance throughout that range
- AND improving awareness and activation of those muscles opposite to the restricted or tight muscles!
During intensive therapy programs at All About Kids Rehabilitation Centre and All About Physiotherapy Performance Centre, an integral part is the warm-up, included in the 3 hour, 5 days a week, 4 weeks in a row program.
This may include massage, joint mobilizations, nerve glides before starting the exercises focused on active stretching and joint mobility.
We know the benefits of massage therapy for us regular adults, and for ATHLETES especially. If massage therapy can improve performance and recovery for athletes, then paediatric massage therapy will benefit children with cerebral palsy. With weakness, differences in tone, awareness, and joint contractors or restrictions, movement on a daily basis is as intensive as the daily training an athlete completes. Assistance with recovery, resetting proper awareness and activation, and restoring range of motion consistently is beneficial. Massage therapy can help!
Additionally, massage therapy supports the parasympathetic (rest and digest) firing over sympathetic (fight or flight), which helps with constipation, sleep, anxiety, proper diaphragmatic breathing, and manages primitive reflexes (like the startle reflex or extensor tone).
Massage therapy offered at All About Physiotherapy in Etobicoke, is an excellent way to treat pain in our kids as well. It neuromodulates (meaning changes the nervous system firing) of nerves signaling pain as well as nerves signaling muscle control and awareness.
A common challenge our growing paediatric patients experience is growing longer and heavier faster than the flexibility and strength can keep up. This obviously causes a set back in function, even if enough volume physiotherapy is done. This also causes poor posture, affects breathing, limits endurance and energy, and can make scoliosis worse.
Massage therapy also supports the management of constipation in children, in conjunction with paediatric pelvic floor physiotherapy.