All About Cerebral Palsy Treatment Options

cerebral palsy treatment options

You may know or not, it is not easy to have a healthy baby. There are a lot of problems that can happen during the pregnancy. Even when the baby gets born, many health problems still wait to attack his/her life. One of the most important concerns parents often pay attention to when they have kids is cerebral palsy. This dangerous condition that affects movement is a real threat to any tiny, vulnerable baby who just came to the world the very first moment. Many people keep asking every day why their children have to suffer from that evil illness. Sadly, there is no way to come back to the past to change anything, but cerebral palsy treatment can help to improve the situation. Thus, will provide you useful information about cerebral palsy in general and its treatment in much more detail.

All About Cerebral Palsy Treatment Options

I. Definition And Symptoms Of Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy (CP) is the name of a disorder that relates to movement, posture, or muscle tone. This condition is caused by impairment with the brain that occurs in the developing, immature brain, most frequently before or soon after birth. The problem is possible to happen during the pregnancy period because, based on a study on children with cerebral palsy, 39.5% (158 of 400) of mothers informed having an infection in the pregnancy [1].

Symptoms and signs appear during infancy in most cases or sometimes preschool years. Generally, cerebral palsy results in impaired movement related with abnormal reflexes, rigidity or floppiness of the trunk and limbs, unsteady walking, involuntary movements, abnormal posture, and some combination of these. It is not easy to figure out the symptoms of cerebral palsy. They are not regularly obvious just after the baby is born. Normally, the signs and symptoms become noticeable only when the child experiences the first two years or the third years old.

Symptoms and signs of cerebral palsy can include these followings:

•    Poor reaching development milestones – for instance, not able to sit by eight months or more commonly, not walking by 16-18 months. Based on the EPIPAGE Cohort Study accepted on July 19, 2005, 50% of the children suffering from cerebral palsy independently walked at the age of 2, 31% of the others were unable to walk yet could sit independently, while the rest could not sit [2] Random, uncontrolled movements

  • Weak arms or legs
  • Jerky, fidgety or clumsy movements
  • Walking on tip-toes
  • Seeming too floppy or too stiff
  • Low birth weight. A study by DrMary Jane Platt has shown the lower birth weight of an infant, the higher risk for cerebral palsy to occur [3]. A wide range of other problems from swallowing difficulties, learning disabilities speaking problems, vision problems to speaking problems. If you are concerning about vision health, let click at: Natural ways to improve eyesight to get more information.

The severity of cerebral palsy can vary significantly and be depended on individuals’ condition. Many people can experience only minor health problems, while a huge number of patients will have to suffer from the severe disability. A research of Newcastle University proved the pain is common among children with cerebral palsy while 806 parents out of 818 participative families reported the pain in their little babies [4].

Sadly, up to now, there is no way to cure this condition. It is tough and heart-breaking but people have to accept it. Cerebral palsy treatment is believed to improve the kid’s health condition if applied in time and in a right way. Let see what the suggested cerebral palsy treatment is.

II. Cerebral Palsy Treatment

cerebral palsy treatment options

The first thing to keep in mind is that the treatment for cerebral palsy is a long-term commitment. You cannot expect to save yourself or your kids with the temporary medicines in a short time. The cerebral palsy treatment needs applying together with the symptoms’ development. Long-term care with patience and a medical care team are required. This team may include:

  • Pediatric Neurologist

A doctor who has skills in diagnosing and treating children with poor brain health as well as nervous system (neurological) disorders are required in your child’s treatment.

  • Physical Therapist

A physical therapist will be helpful in helping your kid to improve walking skills and strength, and stretch muscles.

  • Pediatrician Or Physiatrist

It is necessary to have a pediatrician who will oversee the treatment schedule and medical care routine to make sure everything goes as planned.

  • Orthopedic Surgeon

Another person for the medical care team is a doctor who is trained to treat bone and muscle disorders to involve in diagnosing and treating muscle conditions.

  • Occupational Therapist

In the cerebral palsy treatment, your kid will need therapy to develop daily skills together with learning to use adaptive items that support daily activities. Therefore, an occupational therapist that can provide therapy to your child is recommended for your best sake.

  • Speech-language Pathologist

Another member of the team for cerebral palsy treatment process is the speech-language pathologist. This doctor is specialized in speech and language disorders diagnosis and treatment and can work with your child in the case your child suffers from swallowing, speaking, or language difficulties.

  • Recreation Therapist

cerebral palsy treatment - recreation therapist

Movement restriction is one of the main cerebral palsy problems. It is suggested that participation in cultural and art programs, sports, and some other events can help children improve cognitive abilities as well as expand physical skills. Parents of children with cerebral palsy treatment often record improvements in a child’s self-esteem, speech, and emotional well-being.

  • Developmental Therapist

Besides basic skills such as speaking or walking, it is also important for your kids to develop age-appropriate behaviors, interpersonal skills, and social skills. A developmental therapist will know the best way and have enough experience to help your kid.

  • Mental Health Specialist

In cerebral palsy treatment, a mental health specialist, for example, a psychologist or psychiatrist is required. This doctor may help you and also your child learns to deal with your child’s disability.

  • Special Education Teacher

It may sound weird but a special education teacher plays an important part in cerebral palsy treatment. He or she can address learning disabilities, decide educational needs and finally identifies appropriate educational resources. Sometimes, education and learning is very important.

  • Social Worker

It is also advised to have a social worker in the team in the case that your family needs to find any services and schedule for care transitions.

It is all about the medical care team. Now, let see more details about the cerebral palsy treatment for patients with this dangerous condition.

1. Medications

People with cerebral palsy symptoms are often recommended to use various medications to help control their condition. Medications are believed to help manage movement issues, treat pain and improve secondary conditions that result from cerebral palsy. By lessening the tightness of muscles, medication can support functional abilities and other complications. The types of medications used in cerebral palsy treatment range from nerve blocks for spasticity to antidepressants for seizures. Don’t forget to discuss with your doctor about drug treatment risks and ask for advice to see whether your kid is suitable for this medical treatment or not. To prevent unexpected side effects, doctors need to evaluate all pros and cons of each medication before prescribing them. Medication selection will depend on whether the condition influences certain muscles (isolated) only or the entire body (generalized).

Drug treatments may contain the following:

  • Generalized Spasticity

If the whole body of the child is influenced, facial muscle relaxants, especially the oral one, may loosen up stiff, contracted muscles. These useful drugs include diazepam (Valium), baclofen (Gablofen) and dantrolene (Dantrium). Diazepam bears some dependency risk, therefore it’s not allowed for long-term use. Its side effects vary from drowsiness, weakness to drooling. Secondly, baclofen well-known side effects are sleepiness, nausea, and confusion. Keep in mind that baclofen can be directly pumped into a spinal cord with the help of a tube. The pump is implanted surgically under the abdomen skin. Dantrolene side effects include weakness, sleepiness, nausea, and diarrhea

  • Isolated spasticity

When spasticity is isolated and affects only one muscle group, the doctor may advise the cerebral palsy treatment as onabotulinum toxin A (Botox) injections. This medicine can be transferred directly into the nerve, muscle or both. Botox injections [5] are proved to improve drooling. Your kid will need injections every three months. Some side effects that can happen include mild flu-like symptoms, bruising, pain or severe weakness. Other severe side effects can be difficulty breathing and swallowing.

Sometimes, your kid may also be commended medications to reduce drooling. In this case, medications such as glycopyrrolate (Robinul, Robinul Forte), scopolamine or trihexyphenidyl may be helpful, as the Botox injection can go into the salivary glands.

See more: How to treat stroke at home

2. Therapies

cerebral palsy treatment - therapies

Not only medications can be used as cerebral palsy treatment, a range of nondrug therapies can be helpful in enhancing functional abilities:

  • Physical Therapy

Exercises and muscle training may improve your child’s strength, flexibility, motor development, balance, and mobility. You’ll also be taught different ways of safely care for your kid’s everyday needs at home, for example, bathing and feeding your child.

At the age of 1 or 2, both occupational and physical therapists offer support with a wide range of issues such as trunk and head control, grasping, and rolling. Then, both types of therapists will be involved in wheelchair assessments.

Splints or braces may be highly recommended for your kid. Some of these supports can support functions, such as improved walking. The rest may stretch stiff, inflexible muscles to help avoid rigid muscles (contractures).

Learn more: Physical therapy exercises for shoulder

  • Occupational therapy

Using adaptive equipment and alternative strategies, occupational therapists know how to promote your child’s independence in daily routines and activities in the home, the school as well as the community. Adaptive equipment may be quadrupedal canes, walkers, electric wheelchairs or seating systems.

There are some activities that occupational therapy can support, such as:

  • Writing
  • Fastening zippers
  • Opening jars
  • Picking up small objects
  • Using scissors

Being cerebral palsy doesn’t mean that the child will need to depend on others for the rest of the life. They need to develop the ability to work and live independently. And these skills are essential for the children to practice. Occupational therapy for children with cerebral palsy usually contains a form of play in order to keep them motivated.

3. Speech And Language Therapy

Birth impairments can have an influence on some certain parts of the brain that take control the muscles that support us to speak. As one part of cerebral palsy treatment, speech-language pathologists can improve your child’s skills in speaking clearly or communicating using body language. They also teach your child how to use communication devices, for example, a voice synthesizer and a computer, if communication is difficult. Another communication device should be considered is a board enclosed with pictures of activities and items your child may witness in daily life. Moreover, sentences can be created by pointing to the pictures. These difficulties with a number of muscles, in the mouth and face, which are used in swallowing and eating, can be addressed by these speech-language pathologists [6]

One interesting fact is that speech therapists sometimes do not work alone. They can also cooperate with other therapists. For instance, an occupational therapist and a speech therapist can help kids with drooling problems that happen, as a result, of the low muscle tone in the mouth and face.

4. Recreational Therapy

This type of cerebral palsy treatment can benefit children in many ways, for instance, therapeutic horseback riding. These recreational therapies are very effective in improving your child’s speech, motor skills, and emotional health.

5. Alternative Medicine

The last but not least cerebral palsy treatment is alternative medicine. Some children, as well as adolescents with this severe condition, can apply some forms of complementary and alternative medicine. For instance, hyperbaric oxygen therapy is strongly recommended for cerebral palsy treatment in spite of the limited evidence of effectiveness. This and many other unconfirmed therapies for the cerebral palsy condition should be considered with skepticism. Controlled scientific trials including therapies (for instance, hyperbaric oxygen therapy), assisted motion achievement for children, resistance exercise training with special clothing, and some certain forms of electrical motivation have been questionable or showed no value to date, leading to the fact that therapies are not recognized mainstream clinical practice.

See more: Autism spectrum disorder

According to the ADDM CP Network, out of every 323 children living in the US, there is one kid diagnosed with cerebral palsy [7]. No one expects the cerebral palsy condition will happen to the little baby, but the hurtful truth cannot be denied. Parents with a child who suffers from this condition have to accept that fact and look for cerebral palsy treatment as soon as possible. Even there is no way to cure the condition properly; the cerebral palsy treatment with the support of modern technology can improve the situation. Instead of leaving your kid in the miserable world, let save your baby with all the effort. You are not alone in this fight. It will be a long tough road for parents but it will worth at the end. If you have any more idea about the cerebral palsy treatment, please share with us. For more information, please visit the main page Health

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