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Back to School

Going Back to School? OCCUPATIONAL/PHYSICAL THERAPY HELPS SCHOOL CHILDREN

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ital Energy is an occupational, physical and aquatic therapy as well as an alternative therapy and wellness center whose goal is to promote and provide rehab, healing and wellness to all age groups. The center is an environmentally friendly, well-equipped, state-of-the-art facility located at 163 Charter Oak Road, Lexington, South Carolina 29072. “Vital Energy has the ability to help many different types of diagnoses and we treat newborn infants to 21 year old youngsters in our pediatric therapy area. “From the smallest to the most difficult diagnosis, our staff is up for the challenge,” says Hima Dalal. Hima and her team help a variety of patients suffering from scoliosis, pain, postural issues, trauma and other injuries to ADHD (where we use iLS – Integrated Listening System – a multisensory program for improving brain function) or learning disabilities, just to name a few.

According to Hima, one of the greatest challenges middle-schoolers are facing right now is the heavy backpacks they are required to lug around all day, which can often weigh up to 28 pounds. “If students are not aware of the proper way in which books should be placed in the backpack, the load will vary because of the leverage, and the mechanical advantages will not be in the right place, which can multiply in different parts of your body,” says Hima. For example, “The higher load should be centered at the mid-back. If the load is larger on top, gravity will pull you down, the backpack will pull you down, resulting in many changes to your spine. Not only are muscles at risk, but so is spine formation, joints and cartilage. These

factors can lead to stress on the knees because you cannot carry it on your back and pelvic floor, so now you are bending your knees forward, and putting unnecessary wear and tear on them.” According to Hima, the backpack problem can affect the body in a myriad of ways, causing multiple issues and a variety of joint problems. Who would have thought all these issues could potentially happen because of a “little” backpack?! Another area of concern is the neck. Not surprising, children are playing a lot of video games these days. “When they play video games, they are generally not displaying good posture,” warns Hima. “As new technology is integrated into our learning, such as

the iPad and laptop, posture is a concern in the use of these devices as well.” Something as seemingly simple as a child sitting in an adult sized chair can affect “everything from the neck all the way down to their ankles,” relays Hima. She offers a posture screening and evaluation, where clients are provided with tips for correcting posture and strength exercises that can be performed at home. “There are many problems that can be addressed in just one visit,” Hima notes. The team at Vital Energy treats sports-related injury clients as well; everything from cheerleaders to runners. In younger children, the “cartilage has not yet formed, so they are always at a very high risk of damaging something. It is

important to stretch, warm up and cool-down. Young athletes should have a strength evaluation for all the different muscles to see if they are equally strong. Some muscles have a lot more range than others. Once someone is injured, they are at risk of getting hurt again. This can be significantly reduced if a full body evaluation is performed.” Treating the patient as a whole and checking his or her entire body is the focal point of Vital Energy’s practice. “Whatever sports they are playing,” says Hima, “we will simulate and make sure they are working to their fullest potential.” We have a Hydroworx Pool with an underwater treadmill that can be utilized by young athletes to reach their rehabilitation goals

(left to right) Attention Deficit Coordination Exercise; Treatment for Muscle Tightness/IT Band; Hima treating Growing Pain (Chondromalacia Patella); Treatment for Migraine Headache/Post-Traumatic Brain Injury

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