Regurgitation of stomach contents is normal during the first few months of life, its presentation can range from gastroesophageal reflux (GER), which is benign, to gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) (Heine, 1995) and Sandifer Syndrome (Frankel, 2006) which can be distressing for infants and disruptive to family routines. Pediatric physical therapists often modify plans of care to account for reflux and anecdotal reports indicate torticollis often co-exists with reflux. Also, movement impairments (arching, preference for extension postures, rotation to the right) have been anecdotally reported by pediatric therapists as coexisting with signs of GERD.
This 2-part series aims to improve physical therapist’s clinical reasoning while assessing and treating infants that have reflux. This first session will review the anatomy of the infant's’ GI system, physiology of GER, its neural and chemical mediators (Omari, 2002, Heine, 2006), and will increase therapist’s knowledge of the relationship between body position and GER (Blumenthal, 1982, Orenstein, 1983, Ewer, 1999, van Wijk, 2007, Loots, 2014). Also, the presenter will challenge and/or support the common explanatory and causal theories about co-occurring movement system impairments and reflux that prevail among pediatric physical therapists by contrasting them with the available research on GER, GERD and Sandifer Syndrome.