Cerebral palsy is the general term for a number of neurological conditions that affect movement and co-ordination.

Neurological conditions are caused by problems in the brain and nervous system.

Specifically, cerebral palsy is caused by a problem in the parts of the brain responsible for controlling muscles. The condition can occur if the brain develops abnormally or is damaged before, during or shortly after birth.

Causes of cerebral palsy include:

  • an infection caught by the mother during pregnancy
  • a difficult or premature birth
  • bleeding in the baby’s brain
  • changes (mutations) in the genes that affect the brain’s development
  • Lack of oxygen to the brain 

There are types of cerebral palsy:

Spastic cerebral palsy the most common form of cerebral palsy which appears in around 75% of cases. The most common symptom of spastic cerebral palsy are rigid limbs which varies from person to person. Movements tend to be stiff and jerky and as the condition matures, muscles may get shortened. The child may also suffer from learning disabilities.

Spastic cerebral palsy can also be sub-divided by the extent to which the body is affected:

  • Hemiplegia – both the arms and legs of one side only are affected.
  • Diplegia  – both legs are affected. Arms may/may not or mildly be affected.
  • Quadraplegia – both legs and arms are affected and may be in varying levels

Athetoid cerebral palsy also known as dyskinetic cerebral palsy or dystonic cerebral palsy and present in around 20% of cases. The common symptoms are unintended movements, wriggle and writhe. This type of Cerebral Palsy have good intelligence and understanding.

Ataxic cerebral palsy the least common type of cerebral palsy with approximately 5% of overall cases. People suffering from ataxic cerebral palsy have less obvious symptoms than the other two. Symptoms include difficulty with balance, spatial awareness and have shaky and unsteady movement

Mixed cerebral palsy Many are affected by more than one type of cerebral palsy and the symptoms affect varying degrees.

How can Rehab Basics Help?

There are many different ways which cerebral palsy effect children and adults.

The severity of the symptoms may determine the type and amount of physiotherapy which is required and what outcomes are achieved. Physiotherapy is normally started when your child is diagnosed with cerebral palsy. It’s one of the most important ways of helping your child manage their condition.

The main goals of physiotherapy are:

  • Gait Training
  • Encourage movement which may involve walking aid or orthotics
  • Encourage and improve strength and prevent the weakening of muscles.
  • To prevent muscle shortening and losing their normal range of movement (known as a contracture).
  • Encourage stretching of muscles due to muscle stiffness which can lead to deformities, causing pain and discomfort.
  • Working with the doctors to help with prescription of medication such as Diazepam, Baclofen, Botulinum toxin

A physiotherapist will encourage and engage your child to strengthen and stretch their muscles, which can be carried out at home by parents as instructed. Orthoses may also be used to help stretch muscles and improve posture.

Treatment Sessions are offered in clinics across Northamptonshire and Milton Keynes or at Home Environment.

For further information about our service or to book an appointment with Rehab Basics please contact us