Cerebral palsy is a multifaceted condition. As a result, cerebral palsy treatment can’t be anything but a complex process. There is no cookie-cutter approach to the condition as each patient is affected differently. While there is no treatment to cure the brain injuries associated with the condition, the physical impairments can be managed through a wide range of cerebral palsy treatment and therapies.
There is no universal protocol, so each has to be assessed to find out the extent of impairments to determine the amount of needed care. The primary treatment protocols are the use of adaptive equipment and therapy, surgical interventions, and medications. Occasionally, some families will opt for complementary and alternative medicine for additional assistance.
Things to Consider When Choosing Cerebral Palsy Treatment
Patients with cerebral palsy are not treated solely to correct their physical disabilities. Emotional and social aspects also need to be considered. The treatment is meant to ensure that the patient lives a more fulfilling life. Most children tend to be content with their disabilities. It is critical to ensure that the feelings of these kids are also considered when choosing a treatment plan.
Some treatment plans, although helpful at first, tend to be extremely stressing and intolerable in the end. They may discourage the child from continuing them. The physical and emotional impact of procedures should be discussed with specialists.
This is the first and the most critical step toward cerebral palsy treatment. It begins when the child is young and is meant to improve independent motor functions. The type of therapies used will depend on the symptoms the child has and the specific movement’s problems he or she is suffering from. Some of the benefits of physical therapy include:
– Improved balance.
– More flexibility.
– Improved mobility.
– Increased strength.
– Better posture.
Before beginning physical therapy, your doctor will need to make assessments of the motor capabilities that the child has. This step will determine the most important measures and therapy. After the evaluation, the therapist prescribes strength training workouts, muscle relaxing techniques, and stretches. All recommendations are based on the needs of the child.
To improve muscle tone, the doctor may recommend equipment such as balance balls, weights, and resistant bands. Besides, hot and cold packs are often used to relax and heal muscles. Spinal curvature, also known as scoliosis and short Achilles tendons, are some of the most common posture and movement issues that are treated using physical therapy. Because these problems get worse with time, physical therapy is an important prevention measure. Proper treatment has been known to improve the ability of the child to walk independently.
Because of the remarkable changes and improvements caused by physical therapy, it is recommended that treatment begins as early as possible. This helps to eliminate any complications such as contractures. Patients with dyskinetic cerebral palsy and those with loose muscles get help from strength training. It helps keep atrophy at bay.
Orthotics are devices that are commonly used in physical therapy. For children with low or high muscle tone, braces, splints, and casts are required. Children with scoliosis are often fitted with plastic braces to correct spinal issues during growth. These devices allow for proper growth, mobility, and balance.
This is a great technique. It helps children with cerebral palsy get to improve fine motor skills. While physical therapy helps to develop gross motor function, it does not do much to enhance fine motor skills. Coordinating these skills in tasks such as holding a spoon or taking it to their mouths is a huge struggle for children suffering from cerebral palsy.
Occupational therapy involves testing patient’s fine motor skills, oral motor skills, and perception. This is done by checking the way the child responds to movement and touch. The treatment plan involves reaching, releasing, positioning, and grasping.
Benefits of occupational therapies include:
– Using scissors.
– Fastening zippers.
– Grabbing small objects.
– Opening jars.
To be independent, these skills are critical for a child. Occupational therapy is mainly centered on treating impairments that make movements impossible. Senses allow people to perform basic tasks and know where they are. Sensory disabilities make it difficult to develop any movements. However, occupational therapists assist their patients with these impairments.
Cerebral palsy is one of the many birth injuries that affect certain parts of the brain, especially those that cause muscle weakness and speech impairments. Due to the birth injury, speech issues develop. Speech therapy is one cerebral palsy treatment approach that teaches them how to communicate with others efficiently and to pronounce words correctly.
It can also offer assistance with other skills, including eating and breathing because these issues are connected to mouth and facial muscles. It is usually tricky for kids with cerebral palsy to maintain their BMI at a normal rate. Oral motor skills improve the ability of an individual to chew their food efficiently, thus maintaining a healthy weight.
Occupational therapists and speech therapists can work together to help children who suffer from low facial muscle tones.
Various medications are prescribed to children with cerebral palsy treatment plans that aim to help control their diseases. They help to manage secondary conditions and movement issues that develop as a result of cerebral palsy. The medication may include antidepressants that help block spasticity. Doctors weigh the advantages and disadvantages of the drug before prescribing them. Benefits of the medication:
– Prevents seizures.
– Blocks spasticity.
– Prevents involuntary movement.
– Prevents incontinence.
– Prevents acid reflux symptoms.
Various surgical treatments help correct movement issues in children. However, patients need to know that surgery is not the best treatment for every child. It is commonly recommended for kids with spastic cerebral palsy to relieve restricted movements since their muscles have increased tone. For instance, for kids who step using their toes as a result of high muscle tones in their legs, surgery will allow them to walk normally.
Benefits of surgery:
– Tendon transfers.
– Tendon lengthening.
– Selective dorsal rhizotomy.
For a child who is old enough, the operation is usually very effective.
In the end, there is no direct treatment for cerebral palsy. The best doctors and guardians can do is to ameliorate secondary conditions that originate from this disorder. If you have any extra tips on how to improve cerebral palsy treatment, we invite you to share them with us. Your advice can help others in need.