Cerebral Palsy is disease condition which affects both physical and neurological aspects of a body. They mainly cause damages to brain and nervous system functions. Cerebral palsy (CP) is a motor function abnormality. It alters the motion and control movements of the body. Cerebral Palsy is classified into different types:
- Spastic cerebral palsy
- Dyskinetic or athetoid cerebral palsy
- Ataxic cerebral palsy
- Hypotonic cerebral palsy
In some cases, the actual cause of cerebral palsy remains undetermined. The common causes of cerebral palsy include:
- Injury to brain
- Brain infection
- Severe jaundice
- Injury to head
- Infections during pregnancy
The symptoms vary for different people. Some suffer from mild conditions while in others severe symptoms are seen. The common symptoms include:
- Irregular posture
- Abnormal body movements
- Respiratory and feeding problems
- Disabled intelligence
- Seizures and severe pain
- Vision, speech or hearing problem
The treatment is based on the physical examination and past medical history of the patient. Tests such as CT scan, MRI scan, etc of the head are done. These tests help to determine the actual cause of cerebral palsy. They also help to detect any other abnormalities. Curing cerebral palsy is not possible. Only improving the symptoms is possible. Both surgical as well as non-surgical treatment are available for cerebral palsy.
- Non-surgical Treatment:
Non-surgical procedure involves the following treatments:
- Physical therapy
Immediately after the diagnosis of cerebral palsy is confirmed, physical therapy is recommended. A set of exercises for improving motor skills, body balance, muscle strength, are included in this program. The physical therapies prevent contractures. For improving the mobility and flexibility, special braces or splints are also used.
- Occupational therapy
The occupational therapies aim to improve the posture and upper body functions. They make the child independent for doing daily activities. As a result, self-esteem of children is boosted.
- Recreation therapy
The cognitive and physical skills of a child are expanded through recreational therapy. They create a feeling of self-confidence in the child to participate in different events.
- Speech and language therapy
This therapy focuses mainly on improving the communication skills of a child. They treat swallowing disorders, improper speaking and learning disabilities. They use special communication devices such as voice synthesizer or special board to teach new sign languages.
- Treatment for eating and drooling problems
Some children suffer from eating and drinking problems. This is because their control over the muscles is low. This therapy aims to improve this condition. The treatment also relieves them from the risk of breathing fluid or food into the lungs.
? The functionality and pain disorders can be easily treated with proper medications. They loosen the muscle tightness. Dantrolene, botox injections and backlofen are the commonly used medications. However, use of medications often show some side-effects such as weakness, drooling and drowsiness.
- Surgical Treatment:
Surgery is often required to treat the abnormalities of cerebral palsy. The treatment options include:
- Orthopedic Surgery
Cerebral Palsy often causes deformities in the bones and joints of the body, Most likely affected parts are hips, arms or legs. During surgery, shorter tendons or muscles are lengthened or stretched. As a result mobility increases whereas pain decreases. Also the posture and body movements are improved. Healing of wound takes 1 to 2 weeks time. However, complete recovery requires 12-18 months.
- Selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR)
If all conservative procedures fail to treat the acute pain then selective dorsal rhizotomy technique is used. The surgery mainly corrects lower limb spasticity. During surgical process, the selected sensory nerves of the lower spinal column are cut down. As a result pain is reduced and muscles relaxes. Some side-effects such as numbness or sensory loss are also accompanied, An overactive bladder is also, sometimes, corrected through this technique.
After surgery, the child is advised to stay in hospital for 2 days. The braces or splints are provided in the affected area to prevent further harm. Avoid activities which can increase stress on the operated part. The recovery time varies for every child.
The possible risks include:
- Unpleasant burning sensation
- Urinating problems
- Breathing problems
- Constipation and vomiting
- Infection in lungs