What Cerebral Palsy Treatment Is Available for Your Child?
Unfortunately, cerebral palsy has no known cure. Whether your child was born with congenital cerebral palsy due to a birth injury or they later developed acquired cerebral palsy, the condition cannot currently be reversed or cured. Fortunately, though, in most cases, cerebral palsy is not degenerative and will not progress beyond the initial symptom that your child displays, especially if you catch it early and begin treatments as soon as possible. So what kinds of cerebral palsy treatments are available to help your child?
With physical therapy, a child may develop the ability to gain more controlled motion and flexibility in their limbs. Through targeted strength and coordination exercises performed on a regular basis under the supervision and guidance of a trained physical therapist, a child with cerebral palsy can become more mobile, more flexible, and stronger. Some examples of exercises performed in physical therapy sessions include but are not limited to:
- Therapeutic exercises to improve endurance.
- Joint mobilization and stretching for flexibility.
- Practicing balance and improve coordination.
- Targeted strength exercises.
- Swimming therapy for coordination and endurance.
For more severe cases, there are physical therapy techniques specifically designed to help children in wheelchairs or who need the help of braces to walk. Physical therapy is almost always an ongoing process, but it may be used in many cases to avoid the need for surgery and/or to lessen the need for some medications. It may also be used in conjunction with certain equipment and specially designed devices as the cerebral palsy treatment to help children live more independently as they get older.
A lot of children and adults with cerebral palsy use specially made orthotics, crutches, walkers, wheelchairs, shoes, and other equipment to help gain strength in certain muscle groups while relaxing overactive, clenched (spastic) muscles. Which devices your child can benefit from will depend on the type of cerebral palsy they have and its severity.
For example, casts can be used not only after surgery but also to immobilize a certain muscle group to allow it to relax while the child works with their physical therapist to strengthen another muscle group. Other devices can help a child with cerebral palsy learn to become more mobile with less effort, as well.
Cerebral Palsy Medications
A number of medications may also help your child feel more normal, experience less muscle strain, and gain more muscular control. These include:
- Anti-seizure medication – Trileptal and Lamictal are common anti-seizure medications that can help a child with cerebral palsy avoid painful and potentially harmful seizures.
- Anticholinergic medication – If child experiences excessive drooling, unusual facial expressions, and/or uncontrolled body movements, a drug like Robinal or another anticholinergic medication can help.
- Muscle Relaxers – Baclofen and valium are commonly used muscle relaxers that can be taken orally to relax overactive muscles. Botox can be administered, as well, to partially paralyze an overactive muscle and allow other muscle groups to “catch up.”
There are several cerebral palsy treatments involving surgery for different symptoms and issues related to the condition. Children with cerebral palsy are often subject to ear infections and blockages, and surgery is often called for. Surgery may also be used to install a pump for Baclofen or other medication so that it may be administered continuously instead or orally.
Most commonly, however, orthopedic surgery is called for to help the child control movement in specific areas of the body. Even if the movement cannot be controlled through surgery, though, this cerebral palsy treatment is often a good option to reduce or eliminate pain while still allowing the child to maintain mobility and independence as they get older.
These are just a few of the available cerebral palsy treatment options for your child. The best treatment for your child will depend on the type of cerebral palsy they have and its severity.
If your child has developed cerebral palsy due to a birth injury, you may have a medical malpractice case against your doctor, another medical professional, and/or the medical institution in which you gave birth.