Birth Injury Treatment Options and Success Rates
The idea that your baby has sustained a birth injury is incredibly frightening. Fortunately, though, many birth injury treatment options are available, and most birth injuries do not result in permanent damage or health concerns if they’re caught and treated early enough. While there are numerous types of birth injury treatments and different options that parents may or may not choose, we can help give you an overview of the most common treatments and their likelihood of successfully restoring your child’s health, motor functions, etc.
Physical Therapy for Nerve Damage
If a child has suffered from nerve damage due to a brachial stretch injury that’s resulted in Erb’s palsy, Klumpke’s palsy, or another brachial palsy, they will likely have pain or numbness in the affected shoulder, arm, hand, or fingers. They may also suffer from partial or total paralysis in the affected limb. Of all the treatments for these types of palsies and injuries, physical therapy is one of the most common.
In many cases, physical therapy has been known to:
- Partially or fully restore movement to the affected limb.
- Restore strength and/or balance.
- Assist with improved coordination and flexibility.
- Reduce or eliminate pain associated with the injury.
- Reduce or eliminate disabilities associated with the injury.
- Improve posture and fitness.
Physical therapy sessions for infants and toddlers may vary from similar sessions for older children and adults, but the purpose is the same – to restore motion, strength, and flexibility while reducing or entirely eliminating pain.
Surgery is not required for most birth injury treatments, but when called for it can save a baby’s life or help to partially or fully restore movement to a paralyzed limb. Some cases in which surgery is necessary include brain hemorrhages, fractured skulls, and severe cases of brachial stretch injuries in which the nerves must be repaired or reattached.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
You have likely seen images or videos of premature babies in hyperbaric chambers to assist with their breathing until their lungs develop and they can breathe on their own. Recently, this type of therapy has been used not only to help premature babies breathe, but also to reduce the chances of brain damage after oxygen deprivation during a difficult labor. In some cases of a prolapsed umbilical cord or shoulder dystocia, this hyperbaric oxygen therapy may prevent the development of cerebral palsy and other complications associated with oxygen deprivation during childbirth.
Medications for Birth Injuries
In some cases, medication is used to help reduce pain and inflammation, or otherwise, treat birth injuries. There is a wide variety of medications available to help in different situations and for different complications, some of which include:
- Topiramate or gabapentin used to prevent seizures.
- Dantrolene, baclofen, or tazidene, to prevent spasms.
- Corticosteroids and ibuprofen, for pain management and for their anti-inflammatory properties.
- Various stool softeners.
- Botox and other muscle relaxers used to improve balance in muscle development in cases of muscle or nerve damage.
Occupational Therapy for Birth Injuries
For children who have suffered permanent or temporary brain damage due to a birth injury, occupational therapy may be helpful. This type of therapy is focused on helping children who have physical, sensory, or cognitive disabilities. Occupational therapy may help a child with cerebral palsy or other brain damage in a number of ways, including but not limited to:
- Learning to develop basic skills, such as getting dressed on their own, brushing their teeth, etc.
- Developing better fine motor skills, as well as hand-eye coordination.
- Improving focus.
- Developing social skills.
- Developing more positive behavior and reactions.
Occupational therapy sessions can be performed at a therapist’s clinic, in your home, at a hospital, at school, or in a number of other settings. These sessions may be temporary, or they may be ongoing, depending upon your child’s condition and needs.
Some of these birth injury treatments are more affordable than others, but you should not be held responsible for paying for them if your doctor or another medical practitioner was responsible for your child’s birth injury. Contact us today to find out more about birth injuries and to discuss your case.