Cerebral Palsy (CP) occurs as a result of damage to the brain either before birth, at the time of birth or within early life. Cerebral Palsy is a movement disorder that affects the brains ability to send the correct messages to muscles. This may lead to a child presenting with increased stiffness (hypertonia), being floppy (hypotonia), fluctuating between the two (dystonia), with involuntary movements (athetosis) or with uncoordinated movements (ataxia). Children may also have other disabilities as well, such as problems with learning, sensory disturbances and hearing or visual impairments. The damage to the child’s brain does not change, but this early damage does affect how your child will develop and a changing presentation is often seen with growth.
Cerebral Palsy is an umbrella term in which every child’s presentation is unique to them. Some children with a diagnosis of cerebral palsy have very few restrictions in their movement abilities, some have severe restrictions and the others sit along the spectrum between the two.
Children with cerebral palsy can be grouped according to the areas of their body that are affected. A child with hemiplegia presents with changes to one side of their body such as their left side. Children with diplegia present with problems in their legs, with their trunk muscles and arms less affected. Children with quadriplegia have whole body involvement with their arms affected more than their legs. Within each of these groups, every child’s presentation is unique to them.
Children with cerebral palsy benefit from Physiotherapy to help address:
- · Areas of stiffness/hypertonia
- · Areas of inactivity
- · Poor control of movement patterns
- · Muscle shortening/contractures
- · Prevention of musculoskeletal deformity
A physiotherapy programme should be specific to your child’s needs and their current goals. Kids’ Physiotherapy is able to provide a comprehensive assessment for your child and put a therapy programme in place.
Physiotherapy treatment may involve, stretches, strengthening exercises, facilitation of more normal movement patterns, advice on postural management, techniques to help clear secretions and advice on appropriate aids, orthotics and equipment. Some children benefit from a programme for nursery/ school or advice around activities within PE lessons.
Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) may also be useful for a child with cerebral palsy, for more information on this please click the following link: Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES).
Kid’s Physiotherapy looks at your child as a whole and is able to provide a Physiotherapy programme to meet their needs from the comfort of their own home at a time that is convenient to you as a family.