What Are The Treatments for Cerebral Palsy?

Sep 05th, 2018 | by Lisa Murphy OTD, OTR/L, SWC
Lisa Murphy OTD, OTR/L, SWC

Lisa Murphy OTD, OTR/L, SWC

September 05th, 2018

Cerebral palsy is a disability that impairs a person’s motor skills, movement, and muscle tone. A majority of people who have cerebral palsy are born with it, but you can also get it shortly after birth. While there is currently no cure for this disability, there are a number of treatments that can improve the lives of those who have it. So, what are the treatments for cerebral palsy? Below we discuss a few:

1. Physical Therapy for Cerebral Palsy

Physical therapy for cerebral palsy is a beneficial approach to challenge the child and help them achieve new developmental milestones. It is recommended that you begin your child’s physical therapy as soon as possible to prevent any further complications. Physical therapy can help your child control their movements better, with improved balance. It can also build up their muscle and help them maintain their muscle tone. Furthermore, physical therapists will devise a special exercise program based on your child’s specific needs.

Many physical therapists will also use orthotics, which are devices used to train your child’s major muscle groups. These devices can include splints, braces, or casts to support your child’s movement and encourage proper growth and improvement.  

2. Occupational Therapy

With cerebral palsy, everyday tasks such as brushing teeth, writing, using scissors, and getting dressed can become very difficult. An occupational therapist can assist your child by evaluating your child’s fine motor skills and developing a specific treatment plan. The treatment will usually focus on “positioning, reaching, grasping, and releasing.” This is all in an effort to improve your child’s daily tasks both at home and at school.

3. Speech Therapy

Cerebral palsy can affect parts of the brain and muscles in a child’s mouth that permit speech. Thus, many children with this disability have trouble speaking. The role of the speech therapist is to gradually improve your child’s ability to form words and speak clearly. If speech isn’t possible, they can teach your child different means of communication, like sign language. Moreover, children with this form of cerebral palsy may have the tendency to drool or face difficulty when trying to eat. Speech therapy can help your child gain control over these muscles to slowly eliminate these issues.

4. Medication

Doctors may prescribe various forms of medication to patients with cerebral palsy who are experiencing conditions like muscle spasms. The medication will relax the child’s muscles and allow movement to become easier and more controlled. Other medications can treat secondary conditions caused by cerebral palsy, such as seizures and acid reflux.

5. Surgery

Sometimes, surgery is the best option to improve your child’s condition. This is most commonly prescribed for patients with spastic cerebral palsy because it can correct areas with increased muscle tone. One such procedure is getting muscles or tendons lengthened. Doing so allows for less restricted movement.

About NAPA Center

At NAPA Center, we take an individualized approach to therapy because we understand that each child is unique with very specific needs. We embrace differences with an understanding that individualized programs work better. For this reason, no two therapeutic programs are alike. If your child needs our services, we will work closely with you to select the best therapies for them, creating a customized program specific to your child’s needs and your family’s goals. Let your child’s journey begin today by contacting us to learn more.

TAGS: Blogs