What are the Treatment Options for Cerebral Palsy?
Cerebral palsy (CP) itself cannot be cured, but the problems it causes can be greatly improved. So, treatment is usually referred to as management. This management always involves various type of therapy, and in some cases can involve medications, surgery, and/or braces to assist in proper development of the nerves and muscles.
Physical and occupational therapy are used to keep the muscles in good condition. Since the primary effect of CP on the body is spacicity, stretching and working the muscles can keep muscle tone regulated and balanced so that the body can move with its highest potential for fluidity and control.
Occupational therapy focuses on improving motor skills and the ability to achieve everyday tasks. It employs many of the principles of physical therapy, but is more targeted.
Impaired speech is a common and serious problem for children and adults with CP. Even when cognitive function is not impaired, difficulty communicating can create a severe hindrance, and reduce a child’s ability to achieve. Speech abilities can be improved by therapy, and other communication devices are available for those who cannot overcome or fully overcome CP induced speech impairment.
The spacicity associated with CP causes severe muscle contractions and over time can create constant muscle tension and pain. CP targeted massage therapy can relive this tension, relaxing the muscles, improving muscle control, and relieving chronic pain.
Hyperbaric therapy involves using oxygen at high pressure to deliver a high level of oxygen to the brain and other tissues. Although considered controversial in its efficacy, parents and CP patient report a high rate of success with this therapy.
Swimming is just one form of exercise which can help develop muscle control and increase blood flow and oxygen to the brain without great stress on the body. Exercise therapy can also increase confidence and a sense of well being.
Hippotherapy is horseback riding specially designed for therapeutic purposes, and it is incredibly effective. It combines the physical benefits of the movement of the horse moving the child’s body in a gentle, yet stimulating way, with the emotional and psychological bond between the child and horse. Animals are extremely intuitive and non-judgmental. Children who are severely impaired and do not trust or respond to other people will often respond to animals with miraculous results.
Therapeutic electric stimulation (TES)
TES is applied during sleep and increases muscle fiber. It is used in conjunction with exercise and/or physical therapy.
Botox is known for its cosmetic applications, but is making great headway in other areas of medicine. BOTOX works by paralyzing or relaxing muscles, and can b applied to tiny areas with great precision. In this way it is used to stop CP muscle spasms, providing both relief from pain and greater control over body movements.
Cerebral palsy is often the result of a birth injury caused by medical negligence. If your child suffers from CP, contact an experienced birth injury attorney today.