24 August 2012

The prospects of treating teens and adults

By Natan Gendelman D.O.M.P  |  http://www.healthinmotionrehab.com  |  http://www.enabledkids.ca

Having worked with children for over 23 years, I’ve had many people come to me for information and advice on treatments that are suitable for teenagers and adults. It’s important to realize that if a loved one is diagnosed with a neurological condition, age can be a primary factor that influences how treatment may be approached as well as the number of treatment programs that are made available. This may be due to a person’s age and how others perceive his prospects for improvement and/or recovery. However, it is important to note that when treating an individual with a neurological condition, nothing is set in stone regarding his potential for improvement. Whether a person is a teen or an adult, his brain has the ability to form new neural pathways (also known as neuroplasticity) which can lead to great improvements in his function.

 For these reasons, it is crucial to understand your loved one’s condition and how that should influence what you should look for in treatment. In doing so, you will be better equipped with knowledge to help him on the road to independence.


Looking at bone formation in teens and adults up to 25-26 years of age

As the first step to understanding your loved one’s condition, it’s important to realize that up until the age of 25-26, the body is still in the process of growing. At this time the ossification and calcification of bones in the body has not yet finished, and you may be able to correct the positioning of joints to help the body gain and improve its function. Depending on a patient’s condition, during this time it is often possible to release the tissues around the joint and normalize its position for increased mobility.


Improving independence for adults 26 and over

Now, once a person passes the age of 26, the growing process has already finished. Since the ossification and calcification of the bones is done, unfortunately you cannot correct and completely normalize the bone’s position since it has already been set. However, at this stage it is still possible to treat a patient and improve the flexibility and mobility of his joints.

Of course, despite any differences between these two stages, the goal of treatment remains the same: to help a person walk away from what he has, and focus on improving his function and abilities so that he may become as independent as possible in his everyday life.


Final thoughts

With this in mind, please remember that these are only guidelines and that nothing regarding a person’s condition or prospects is set in stone. No matter what the prognosis may be, it doesn’t mean that you should give up on treatment or think that it is hopeless. Whether a patient is a child, teen, or adult, a therapist’s overall goal is the same: to improve a person’s way of life and function to the best of his abilities. Good luck, and I wish you and your family all the best with your loved one’s treatment.

If you have any questions, feel free to leave me a comment or email me at natan[at]enabledkids.ca. You can also read more about Fabio’s story here.

Key Terms
calcification: The accumulation of calcium or calcium salts in soft tissues, causing it to become inflexible or unchangeable
The natural process of bone formation

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