Types of Physical Therapy for Cerebral Palsy
Jun27

Types of Physical Therapy for Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy is a group of conditions that involve problems controlling the muscles. Cerebral palsy comes in all levels of severity and some sufferers are essentially unable to perform any physical activities on their own and suffer severe mental impairments, as well. Others, however, can benefit substantially from various types of physical therapy and, as is the case with all modern medicine, treatment options are steadily increasing in number in this regard.   What it Does   Physical therapy provides a way to help people with CP strengthen their muscles, get better control over them and to live a richer life, because of being able to enjoy more independence. Physical therapists need to be licensed and trained. These are medical professionals with vast knowledge of anatomy. If you’re receiving physical therapy for your own CP or are bringing in a child or family member, the program will be tailored to the individual’s needs, so there will be some variation in the therapies given.   Holistic Approaches   According to some research the types of physical therapy that benefit CP sufferers the most are those that involve the person’s entire life. These include more intensive programs that allow them to use training, devices and changes to their lifestyle to achieve better control over their bodies.   There is also evidence that physical therapy benefits CP sufferers in a range of ways beyond what would be expected. Cognitive function, for instance, has been shown to improve for some individuals with cerebral palsy when they engage in active physical therapy. This is, perhaps, not too surprising, since regular exercise has been shown to help healthy individuals mentally, as well.   Some Strategies   Physical therapists will use different strategies to provide different benefits. Some of what they do will depend upon the age of the child in question. For instance, in their early ears, even young children can do exercises that help them to learn to calm their muscles down, to keep their balance better and to adjust their positions. As they age, the therapy can become more advanced.   Walking is a big area where physical therapists offer assistance, for obvious reasons. Some forms of cerebral palsy—ataxic, for instance—are more well-known for having effects on a child’s ability to walk than others. Physical therapists can help children to develop coordination, muscle strength and balance that can help them walk better and, perhaps, transition from a wheelchair to crutches to a walker, if they do very well.   Adults oftentimes keep up with physical therapy to help with their CP symptoms. Regular exercise that is customized for the patient is very useful...

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What are the Special Needs of a Child with Cerebral Palsy?
May17

What are the Special Needs of a Child with Cerebral Palsy?

Cerebral palsy (CP), according to a general definition from the Mayo Health Clinic, is a disorder of movement, muscle tone or posture that is caused by injury or abnormal development in the immature brain, most often before birth. Some individuals with cerebral palsy are only mildly affected and have a relatively large range of motion, while others’ functional abilities are greatly impaired. Depending on the severity of a child’s CP, he/she will have a variety of special needs. Fortunately, there are numerous forms of treatments that allow an individual with CP to have some improved functional abilities. Types of CP and Different Needs While cerebral palsy is the most common childhood motor disability, the needs of a child are based on the type of cerebral palsy. While many CP signs occur or are noticed as early as 2 months or as late as 24 months, it is important for parents and caregivers to contact a medical professional as soon as they notice any changes, such as delayed motor skills. The earlier a child becomes diagnosed; the sooner plan can be put in to action (to improve functional abilities). Yet depending on the type of CP, a treatment plan will vary as each one should be specialized for an individual’s needs. The four main types of cerebral palsy are: Spastic CP: This type is the most common and affects about 80% of people with cerebral palsy. Individuals with spastic CP have stiff muscles, resulting in awkward and rigid movements, due to increased muscle tone. Spastic diplegia/diparesis: refers to individuals who have stiffness in their legs, with the arms either less affected or not at all. Walking is often difficult and walking aids may be needed depending on the severity of the “scissoring” or the way the hips, legs, and knees act while walking. Spastic hemiplegia/hemiparesis: only affects one side of the body and more often the arm than the leg. Depending on the severity, the individual should have little difficult with walking unassisted. Spastic quadriplegia/quadriparesis: is the most severe form of spastic CP as it affects arms, legs, trunk and face. Most individuals cannot walk and have additional disabilities such as intellectual disability, seizures, vision, hearing, or speech issues. These individuals may be wheelchair bound and require the use of a communication board or device to help them communicate. This form of CP does not allow for much mobility or functioning as an independent. Dyskinetic Cerebral Palsy (including athetoid, choreothetoid, dystonic CP) Individuals with Dyskinetic CP have difficulty controlling the movements of their hands, arms, feet and legs, making it difficult to sit or walk. The movements can change often...

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