Physical Therapy helps PAIN that doesn't go away in kids and teens

Friday, Dec 29, 2017 by Child & Family Development


Pain in children and teens is complex and may be difficult to diagnose. In kids, the nervous and musculoskeletal systems are still developing. A child’s perception of pain is different from an adult. Children may be unable to differentiate or describe types of pain (I.e. sharp, dull and intense). Some types of pain are straightforward (i.e. post-injury) and other types require more analysis and research (i.e. pain from migraines, pain following a virus, pain after surgery, fibromyalgia, chronic pain and Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS). 

Pain in children and teens is broadly referred to as Amplified Musculoskeletal Pain (AMP). Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) is another name for AMP. AMP can impact physical activity, mood, school performance, sleep and many other areas. It is chronic pain.


The simple description is pain that lasts longer than 3 months and interferes with a person’s ability to participate in activities of daily living.  


Either is a condition of severe localized pain. It is difficult to diagnose and is usually diagnosed by ruling out other possible conditions or diseases. Its prevalence is probably under identified in children and adolescents. It occurs in girls more often than boys. It involves the lower extremities more often than upper extremities. It can move from one extremity to another.


  • A known cause or event that starts the pain cycle, but not always in children
  • Severe pain with light touch or skin, pain response which is disproportionate to injury or continuous pain
  • Changes to the area affected such as swelling, blood flow, hair growth or skin color
  • No other clear cause of pain or inability to move
  • No obvious nerve damage 


Elusive pain disorders can be very upsetting for families. Traditional medical care may fail when there is no designated reason for the pain, customary techniques are not beneficial or medications cannot or should not be sustained over a period of time.

A multidisciplinary approach is often recommended, including:

  • physical therapy
  • occupational therapy
  • psychological intervention
  • Physician-prescribed mild medications

Treatment strategies include:

  • child and caregiver education
  • relearning normal use of the affected body part
  • desensitization
  • strengthening of the affected body part
  • coping skills to manage emotional components such as relaxation and mindfulness
  • mobilizing community resources

Outcomes include:

  • restoration of function
  • pain relief
  • reduced school absenteeism
  • social inclusion, not isolation
  • improved self awareness


Child and Family Development physical therapists, occupational therapists and psychologists can help your child get back to his/her healthy, happy self. You will be amazed at the ability to retrain the brain and body!  Click below to learn more about each of these services:

Click here for a printable page about pain. 

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Topics: Amy Sturkey, Jessica Turchin, C&FD Physical Therapy Services, Erin Krueger, Gail Fennimore, Katie Eggleston, Blake Templeton

Clumsy or Dyspraxia? Read more from C&FD physical therapists

Monday, Dec 18, 2017 by Child & Family Development


Many moms and dads who contact Child & Family Development report that their child is “a little clumsy”.  In many instances, it can be difficult to recognize if this is simply part of development and adjusting to a growing body or an area to be explored more specifically. The explanation may be developmental dyspraxia.


The physical therapy team provides this explanation. 


Developmental dyspraxia is a motor learning difficulty that can affect planning of movements and coordination as a result of brain messages not being accurately transmitted to the body. 


Do you describe a child in these ways?

·         Bumping into things all the time, or accident-prone

·         Inability or difficulty with skipping, jumping rope or climbing

·         Strong but not very coordinated

·         Falling out of chairs, knocking things over or messy

·         Awkward or difficulty walking or running

·         Difficulty playing, participating, or insecurities with sports or games


Children with dyspraxia have particular problems learning new motor skills and activities and coordinating the upper and lower limbs of the body. To efficiently move through the environment and learn new skills, the body relies on sensory systems- tactile (touch), vestibular (movement) and proprioceptive (how muscles perceive actions). If these systems are not properly integrated, a child appears clumsy.


Some characteristics of developmental dyspraxia are:

·         Awkward gait movement

·         Decreased sense of body awareness

·         Emotional lability, sensitivity or appears distracted

·         Difficulty judging distances

·         Difficulty imitating body positions 

·         Poor balance

·         Poor sequencing of activities

·         Poor short and/or long term memory

·         Slow movement planning and reaction times in both fine motor gross motor 


Even if only a few of these characteristics are noted in a child, an evaluation could be the first step to address the issue. While there is no cure for dyspraxia, a trained pediatric occupational therapist or physical therapist can assist the child in learning ways to improve their motor planning abilities and becoming more successful with gross motor learning and performance.


Current data notes that 6% of all children ages 5-11 have a developmental coordination disorder. It is important to note that motor difficulties are likely to coexist with several other diagnoses, including:

·         Auditory Processing Disorder

·         Executive Function Disorder

·         Hypotonia

·         Low Birth Weight

·         Sensory Processing Disorder


There are treatment options for developmental dyspraxia.  There are several types of praxis (movement) that may be addressed in therapy. These types include: oral, sequential, postural, constructional, and praxis on verbal command. 


Research shows that a combination of strength and coordination goals, as well as work on specific functional skills (climbing stairs, skipping) is most effective. A therapist can, through play and exploration of new motor activities, address the affected area(s) of praxis and improve overall motor planning and abilities. 


Advanced training and techniques are used in treatment of developmental dyspraxia:

·         E-Stimulation (E-Stim) 

·         Neuro-Developmental Treatment (NDT)™

·         Sensory Integration

·         Total Motion Release (TMR)®


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Topics: Amy Sturkey, Jessica Turchin, C&FD Physical Therapy Services, Erin Krueger, Gail Fennimore, Katie Eggleston, Blake Templeton

C&FD PTs are celebrating National Physical Therapy Month!

Monday, Oct 2, 2017 by Child & Family Development

Our team of 6 physical therapists is celebrating National Physical Therapy Month 2017 with the American Physical Therapy Association!


Gail Fennimore PT PCS

Amy Sturkey LPT 

Blake Templeton DPT

Katie Eggleston Kennedy DPT

Erin Krueger DPT ATRIC

Jessica Turchin MPT ATRIC

We provide services to children, teens and young adults with developmental, neurological and congenital impairments.  Services can be habilitative (learning a skill for the first time) or rehabilitative (becoming more proficient at a skill or relearning a skill).  We focus on improving and adapting a child's gross motor abilities.  

If you notice difficulties in one or more of these areas, an evaluation and treatment may be appropriate:

  • Balance
  • Coordination
  • Endurance
  • Flexibility
  • Gait
  • Gross Motor Skill Acquisition
  • Motor Planning
  • Muscle Strength
  • Postural Alignment 
  • Range Of Motion
  • Strength in trunk and legs
  • Surgical Rehabilitation 

All of our therapists are licensed by the state of North Carolina. 

Child and Family Development physical therapists are in-network with many insurance plans, including Aetna, Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC, Cigna, Medcost, North Carolina Medicaid, Primary Physician Care, South Carolina Medicaid and United Health Care.  Our clients also may pay privately and access out-of-network benefits.

Have a question about developmental milestones? 704-541-9080 Call to schedule a free phone consultation with a  Physical Therapist

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Topics: Amy Sturkey, Jessica Turchin, C&FD Physical Therapy Services, Erin Krueger, Gail Fennimore, Katie Eggleston, Blake Templeton

Back(pack) to School: tips from a physical therapist 

Friday, Aug 25, 2017 by Child & Family Development

As the sun sets on summer and the school bells ring once again, Blake Templeton DPT recommends taking time to evaluate your child’s backpack in order to maintain skeletal and muscular health.

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Topics: C&FD Physical Therapy Services, Blake Templeton

Summer 2017 Aquatic Therapy at the Harris YMCA

Thursday, Jun 8, 2017 by Child & Family Development

Child and Family Development continues pool-based physical therapy at the Harris YMCA!

We have offered aquatic therapy for about 15 years and four physical therapists will be in the water this summer:

Katie Eggleston, DPT
Erin (Harkins) Krueger, DPT, ATRIC
 Jessica Turchin, LPT, ATRIC
Blake Templeton, DPT

Pool therapy is a great complement to a physical therapy or occupational therapy intervention, in addition to regular land based therapies. 

  • The aquatic medium provides a number of unique properties that are almost impossible to replicate on land. 
  • The hydrostatic pressure of the water really helps our pediatric patients with body awareness and sensory integration.  Not to mention the undeniable aid with postural support for not only standing, but also for breathing! 
  • The buoyancy aids in off weighting the body to make coordination of activities much easier, as it can be used to lessen the strength required to perform a movement successfully.  Many people learn to walk first in the water and then on land. 
  • The confidence they have in the water is remarkable.  Imagine seeing a 7 year old motor plan and successfully walk for the first time in the water - now that 10 year old is walking independently on land! 

For the last 7 years, we have partnered with th Harris YMCA in Charlotte near South Park Mall.   The indoor pool has several features that are especially therapeutic including:

  • zero tide entrance, like walking into the ocean
  • whirlpool, with variable resistance and pressure 
  • heated water
  • floating equipment and toys

Click here to read more about the benefits of aquatic therapy.  

Read the C&FD blog

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Topics: Jessica Turchin, C&FD Physical Therapy Services, Erin Krueger, Katie Eggleston, Blake Templeton

Physical Therapy helps infants with torticollis

Thursday, Jun 1, 2017 by Child & Family Development

Child and Family Development physical therapists loves helping infants diagnosed with torticollis or plagiocephaly. 

Infants experience such rapid gross motor development in the first seven months of life and with just a few tips to new parents, there can be huge improvements in their overall development.

A diagnosis of torticollis means that there is a neck musculature imbalance, and the sternocleidomastoid muscle (SCM) is the muscle involved. Plagiocephaly is usually a secondary diagnosis to torticollis. It is caused by the infant resting heavily on one part of the head which leads to a flattening of the head in that area.

A helmet is usually prescribed to improve head shape, but many of the cases I have treated by conservative measures have improved head shape and a helmet is not necessary.

The SCM is the large neck muscle that runs from the mastoid process (close to the ear), all the way down to the sternum. Its function is to rotate and tilt the head. When the SCM is tight on one side it causes the head to tilt in that direction and rotate to the opposite direction. For example, if the right SCM is tight, the child's head will tilt to the right and rotate to the left. Now, there are exceptions to every rule and sometimes a child's head will tilt and rotate to the same side, but for the most part, torticollis follows the previously mentioned pattern.

The cause of the musculature imbalance could be related to how the child was positioned in the womb, positioning following birth during sleep or resting, and/or if the child is not getting the necessary amount of tummy time. Most of the time, a parent or a pediatrician notice the child's head is flat on one side or on the back or notice a slight tilt of the neck/head in photographs.

The treatment for torticollis is effective. Weekly physical therapy usually takes 6-12 weeks, depending on the severity. There's also a home exercise program of daily stretching. 

Want more info or to schedule an appointment?

Contact our office to schedule a free phone consult with a Child and Family Development physical therapist. 

Have a question about developmental milestones? 704-541-9080 Call to schedule a free phone consultation with a  Physical Therapist

 Click here to read more about torticollis on the National Institute of Health website.

Click here and here to read more about tummy time on our blog. 

Click here to register for our June 8 New Take On Tummy Time free seminar.

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Topics: Amy Sturkey, Jessica Turchin, C&FD Physical Therapy Services, Erin Krueger, Gail Fennimore, Katie Eggleston, Blake Templeton

Child and Family Development welcomes physical therapist, Blake Templeton

Monday, Mar 6, 2017 by Child & Family Development

Blake Templeton DPT joined the Child and Family Development team this month.      

He is a licensed physical therapist who recently completed a doctoral program at Elon University.  Although a new therapist, he has been immersed in the pediatric community for about ten years, acting as a camp counselor and coordinator for Rainbow Express Ministries, including the establishment of a program in Haiti.  he is passionate about seeing kids succeed and bridging physical gaps to promote participation and inclusion with peers.   His experiences include working with a wide array of children during an internship in outpatient pediatrics that included infants, children and young adults with a wide spectrum of skills and needs. In addition, he holds a BA in Exercise and Sports Science and a BA in Psychology from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

He works at the Midtown office.

Welcome Blake!  

Read more about our physical therapy services here.         

Have a question about developmental milestones? 704-541-9080 Call to schedule a free phone consultation with a  Physical Therapist





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Topics: C&FD Physical Therapy Services, Blake Templeton

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Child & Family Development is a multi-disciplinary pediatric clinic serving the needs of Charlotte area children and their families.



  • 4012 Park Road, Suite 200
  • Charlotte, NC
  • 704.332.4834
  • 10516 Park Road
  • Charlotte, NC
  • 704.541.9080

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