Cerebral palsy is caused by damage to the brain before, during or after birth. Often the exact cause of cerebral palsy is not known, but contributing factors can include infections, lack of oxygen, meningitis and pressure or blows to the head. The severity of the cause will affect the significance of the damage caused to the brain. For example, the longer a child is deprived of oxygen during birth, the extent of brain damage likely to be caused is increased.
Effects of Cerebral Palsy
Every person with cerebral palsy (CP) is affected in a different way. Depending on the area of the brain affected, the following symptoms may be present:
- Co-ordination and balance problems
- Difficulty maintaining and controlling posture
- Swallowing and talking difficulties
- Learning difficulties
- Epilepsy (one in three with CP also have epilepsy)
Spastic CP is characterised by:
- Weak, tight or stiff muscle groups
- Difficulty performing controlled movements.
- Difficulty / inability to stand unaided
Athetoid CP is characterised by:
- Involuntary, uncoordinated movements in the face, arms and trunk
- Difficulty eating and speaking
- Difficulty picking up objects
Ataxic CP is characterised by:
- Reduced muscle tone and poor co-ordination of movements
- Reduced balance and depth perception
- Trembling hands
- Unsteadiness during walking
Cerebral Palsy Physiotherapy Treatment
The main aim of neurological physiotherapy for cerebral palsy is to encourage patterns of normal, rather than abnormal, postures and movements.
Regular physiotherapy can:
- Increase mobility such as walking, crawling, rolling
- Facilitate normal development
- Improve co-ordination, balance
- Improve arm, leg and head control
- Normalise muscle tone
- Strengthen weak muscles
- Improve independence and quality of life
We aim to give your child the best care possible and can work alongside other therapists and carers to teach them the best ways to assist with moving and handling your child.