How a trip to the pediatrician can relieve pain without medication

Snap. Crack. Pop.

You may expect to hear these sounds when your child climbs on Dr. Stefanie’s Schroeder’s new osteopathic manipulative treatment table.

But more likely what you’ll hear is “ahh,” and that’s the sound of relief.

When Jordyn Ray, 15, left Dr. Schroeder’s office, she told her mom, “She’s a goddess!” After just one treatment, Jordyn was back at the pitcher’s mound for Villa Grove High School.

Denise Grussing, Jordyn’s mom, was pleased when the pediatrician suggested the new treatment. Admittedly, Grussing makes a funny face when she remembers seeing her daughter contorted.

“I place kids in some pretty awkward positions, find a tender spot and then alleviate pain,” Dr. Schroeder said.

Many parents seek this treatment as a complement to traditional medicine and as an alternative to muscle relaxers, which can leave children groggy.

“I saw Jordyn in some pretty crazy positions and thought, ‘Oh my gosh,’ but if it helps her, I’m all in,” Grussing said.

While Dr. Schroeder’s exam room resembles most other doctors’ offices, it includes a special piece of equipment that allows her to expand on her services to pediatric patients.

Don’t be fooled by its simple appearance—a solid padded piece—because it packs some powerful medicine.

Lower than a traditional exam table, it allows the head to hang lower, for arms and legs to freely dangle and muscles to stretch.

Jordyn recalls her first experience.

“It was pretty normal except being placed in a few funny positions. And it was really warm but felt so good after.”

Blood flow returns to the muscle during the treatment causing warming.

Dr. Schroeder said trust is most important.  Walking children and teens through each step helps to alleviate fears.

“First this, breathe, relax and now I’m doing this.” She reassures each patient she’s “got them” and won’t let them fall.

Dr. Schroeder recommends at-home care of heat or ice and perhaps a low dose ibuprofen following a manipulation session.

“They really need to take it easy, be sure not to overdo it or reinjure themselves,” she said.

Immediate relief appeals most to parents who hate to see their child in pain.

“I want them to be pain-free from head to toe,” Dr. Schroeder said

Her youngest patient was 3, but stresses that two-way communication and the ability to follow direction is necessary to be effective.

“They need to be able to tell me what hurts,” Dr. Schroeder aid.

Add a bit of cooperation from the patient to a few minutes with the doctor and they are on their way to recovery. Most ailments are short-term “growing pains” or sports-related injuries. Other times a repeat visit is necessary to continue care.

“As much as I want to see them again, I want them to feel better right away,” Dr. Schroeder said.

Common conditions treated include:

  • Strains and sprains
  • Lower-back pain
  • Knee pain
  • Neck and shoulder pain

Dr. Schroeder said any child could suffer muscle pains from a gymnast to a football or baseball player. Even non-athletes can suffer injuries that require care.

“A child can get hurt bending over to pick something up or helping to move heavy furniture,” she said.

Or even like adults – young people can sleep funny and wake up with pains they can’t explain.

Dr. Schroeder accepts new patients by referral for this type of care and can provide relief for something as simple as “growing pains” or more severe sports-related injuries.

“Jordyn didn’t have specific injury to cause her pain. It just flares up now and again, and we’ll return,” Grussing said.

Doctors of osteopathic medicine (D.O.) have the same medical training, as medical doctors (MDs) and require any additional commitment to stay current on physical manipulation trends. Dr. Schroeder is currently the only DO serving pediatric patients.

Dr. Malcolm Hill, pediatrician, said Dr. Schroeder has added to the roster of treatment options for patients with musculoskeletal pain.

“Pediatricians are not typically knowledgeable regarding this type of therapy, and she provides the information necessary to make appropriate referrals,” Dr. Hill said. 

Dr. Schoeder’s current patients can call (217) 255-9700 to make a pain-management appointment. New patients require a referral from their Primary Care Provider. Be sure to parents to check with your health insurance provider to understand how treatments are covered.