Cerebral palsy is an umbrella term for a group of disorders that affect a person’s control of their motor functions. Studies by the Center for Disease Control and other organizations have indicated that roughly 760,000 adults and 500,000 children in the United States are currently affected by the disorder. It is estimated that 8,000 to 10,000 children born this year will develop cerebral palsy.
At Personalized Regenerative Medicine, we recognize how this disorder can affect the lives of so many individuals. If the disorder is this widespread, then the options for treatment must be just as prevalent. We offer physical therapy for cerebral palsy for this reason: we want everyone to know that this disorder can be treated and that the quality of life for those affected can improve without the need for surgery or other invasive options that just aren’t available to everyone.
If you or a loved one has been affected by cerebral palsy, we encourage you to contact us in San Clemente so we can tell you about our services. We look forward to the chance to help you.
Why Does Cerebral Palsy Occur?
Cerebral palsy most commonly occurs as an effect of damage to the brain while it is still developing. The damage that causes cerebral palsy typically occurs while the fetus is in development, or during the delivering of the baby, but it can also occur as an effect of physical trauma in early childhood.
In cerebral palsy, we typically see structural damage to the white matter of the brain. White matter primarily consists of myelinated axons, which facilitate the transfer of electrical impulses between neurons, neurons being brain cells that help to control muscle cells and nerve cells. Damage to this area impedes communication between the brain and the rest of the body and also affects an individual’s ability to learn.
How Does Cerebral Palsy Affect An Individual?
Cerebral palsy is an umbrella term for a group of disorders that affect muscle movement and overall control of motor function, but there are some commonplace symptoms. In those with cerebral palsy, the following symptoms are usually seen:
- Stiff Muscles
- Muscular Atrophy
- Inflammation of Joints
- Pain in the Muscles and/or Joints
- Difficulty With Eating or Swallowing
- Uncontrollable Drooling
- Impaired Speech
- Impaired Vision
- Impaired Hearing
- Bladder Issues
Are There Different Kinds of Cerebral Palsy?
Yes, there are, and we feel that it is important for people to be aware of them. The two common types of cerebral palsy are spastic and non-spastic. Spastic is typically associated with stiff muscles and increased muscle tone, while non-spastic is associated with muscular atrophy. Those with spastic cerebral palsy will typically experience jerky, uncontrollable movement and tightening of the muscles. Those with non-spastic cerebral palsy typically experience more of an inability to move, as opposed to uncontrollable movements. Many of those affected with cerebral palsy display a mixture of symptoms from these two categories, but for the purpose of treatment, categorization of those affected is helpful.
How Can Cerebral Palsy be Treated?
At Personalized Regenerative Medicine, we offer physical therapy for cerebral palsy. Physical therapy primarily focuses on rehabilitation of the individual through exercise and directed movement, rather than through medication or surgery. Those with cerebral palsy typically have uneven muscular tone, regardless of what type of cerebral palsy they are affected with, and much of the physical therapy will be focused on strengthening weak muscles. The type of exercise that we use to help rehabilitate the individual will depend largely on which muscle group is need of development.
In cases where muscle stiffness is the primary symptom affecting the individual, stretching exercises may be the main focus of the physical therapy. If the individual has particularly weak leg muscles, we might focus on helping to get them get to the point where they can successfully climb a set of stairs. Endurance exercises might be used to help individuals who are not used to moving for prolonged periods of time. In any case, we will work with the patient to make sure that they are not overexerted by the exercises. This is physical rehabilitation and the point is to help the patient build confidence in their motor abilities.
At first, we may utilize some mobility aids during these exercises, such as leg braces or crutches, to help patients who cannot stand on their own just yet. Training weights and exercise balls may be used for certain types of physical therapy. We will work with the patient every step of the way to make sure that the restorative process is a pleasurable and comfortable one.
What Are The Benefits of Receiving Physical Therapy For Cerebral Palsy?
We want our patients to experience an elevated control over their motor functions, and to be able to perform day to day tasks such as walking, climbing a set of stairs, and being able to seat themselves. If the physical therapy goes well, we hope that the patient will experience a new sense of confidence in themselves and a higher quality of life.
If you are a parent whose child is affected by cerebral palsy, we hope that after our therapy, your child will be able to operate more independently and with more confidence in themselves. We also hope that it will alleviate some of the work that you may put in to help your child perform day to day activities. We’ll also provide instruction on how to help your child maintain the results that they get from physical therapy.
Some of our main goals for physical therapy for cerebral palsy include:
- Minimizing Pain and Discomfort
- Decreasing Joint Inflammation
- Improving Posture
- Improving Flexibility
- Evening Out Muscle Tone
- Increasing Joint Mobility
Physical Therapy for Cerebral Palsy Qualifications
Physical therapy is minimally invasive in nature and available to affected individuals of all ages, but we’ll still require you schedule a consultation with us to make sure of your own candidacy. During this consultation, you’ll sit down to discuss your medical history and current state of health. If after review, the practitioner finds that you are a suitable candidate, they’ll discuss the specifics of the physical therapy program.
Contact us in San Clemente if you’re interested in our physical therapy services for cerebral palsy.