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Treatments for Severe CP

Children who have been diagnosed with severe forms of Cerebral Palsy often face numerous challenges, such as: chronic pain, epilepsy, limited mobility and coordination, limited communication capabilities, cognitive impairments, visual and hearing disabilities, and more. Although severe cases of CP may be very difficult, there are a number of treatments that can offer hope.

The information in this post was compiled from government, educational non-profit, and medical expert sources.

Keep reading to learn about the treatments and therapies that are best for severe Cerebral Palsy patients.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is one of the most common and effective forms of treatment for Cerebral Palsy. Physical therapy is focused on improving the child’s strength, flexibility, coordination, balance, and so on.

Physical therapy can help at all ages of development. A physical therapist will take into consideration the child’s age and current difficulties to design a treatment regime that seeks to maximize the child’s development. 

Early intervention can help prevent contracture, a condition where the stretchy tissues of the body’s joints and limbs are replaced by rigid ones, leading to stiffness and rigidity. Physical therapy can help prevent or limit this condition from occurring, leading to a lifetime of greater mobility. 

Orthotics and assistive devices can also help reinforce the body’s weaknesses–casts, splints, braces, and more can provide improvements in posture and balance and support greater mobility as a child develops. 

Speech Therapy

Speech therapy covers much more than just verbal communication, as the name implies. In addition to communication, speech therapists and speech pathologists can help address issues with eating, breathing, and swallowing. 

Overcoming these types of issues may prove fundamental to achieving greater levels of independence. Patients who struggle with eating and breathing and swallowing often require careful and round-the-clock supervision. 

Of course a speech therapist can also help with communication problems as well. Even if a child struggles with speech, a speech therapist can introduce assistive equipment and technology to help non-verbal or semi-verbal patients learn to overcome communication barriers. 

Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapists can be thought of as therapy anywhere it’s needed. Occupational therapists work in the home, in schools, on playgrounds, and at work. 

Similar to physical therapists, occupational therapists can help severe Cerebral Palsy patients by evaluating the areas where it’s possible to make small gains and helping implement a program to work on growth and development. 

Occupational therapy can help a child play and learn, establish a routine, boost feelings of confidence and accomplishment, and lead to enhanced independence. 

Massage Therapy

Massage therapy is an alternative form of therapy focused on treating the body’s connective tissues and muscles. 

Massage therapies can be helpful for relieving and managing pain, increasing flexibility, and promoting improved muscular development. Massage can also promote feelings of relaxation and wellbeing, increase circulation, and improve sleep. 

Massage therapy as a form of treatment for severe Cerebral Palsy patients hasn’t received as much attention from prominent medical journals as other forms of treatment. However, the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) has published in the National Institutes of Health (NIH) supporting claims that massage can improve sleep patterns.

Medications

Oral muscle relaxants and muscle / nerve injections can help manage pain and treat complications in severe Cerebral Palsy patients.

Drugs like botox and dysport can be injected in trouble areas where muscles are especially tight, while drugs like Valium, Dantrium, Glablofen, Lioresal, and Zanaflex can be taken orally to relax the muscles.

Side effects and dependency issues may arise when taking medications, so speak to a medical professional before starting or stopping any medications. 

Surgery

Surgery is a serious treatment usually reserved for extreme cases, however, surgery can be beneficial when a child’s condition is resistant to other forms of treatment such as physical therapy and medications. 

Children with severe contractures or deformities may benefit from orthopedic surgery. Orthopedic surgeons can help by lengthening the muscles and tendons to ease spasticity, or realign bones to promote better mobility and posture. Legs, feet, ankles, arms, and wrists may feel better and become more functional with corrective surgery. 

Another popular procedure among severe CP cases is selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR). SDR involves cutting the nerves that are sending messages from the muscles to the brain with the effect of reducing the spasticity of the muscles sending those messages.

After a successful SDR procedure, many patients achieve improved posture, balance, motor control, and independence. 

Hearing impairments are not unusual among severe Cerebral Palsy patients–cochlear implants can be surgically implanted to transmit sound directly to the inner ear, providing a sense of sound to people who are profoundly deaf or severely hard of hearing. 

For children with difficulty eating and drinking, a g-tube can help deliver nutrition and hydration as a semi-permanent or permanent solution. 

Sources:

What are common treatments for cerebral palsy? (2020). https://www.nichd.nih.gov/. Retrieved 12 May 2020, from https://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/cerebral-palsy/conditioninfo/treatments

Contact a Cerebral Palsy and Birth Injury Attorney

Getting help for a child with a birth injury can make a big difference. Early intervention and early treatment is often key to helping improve a child’s wellbeing. You must act quickly.

If you have questions about whether your child’s birth injury was caused by a preventable medical error, then our attorneys at Brown Trial Firm may be able to help.

Case Review at No Cost or Obligation

If you would like help investigating your child’s birth injury, please contact us. Our birth injury attorneys will be happy to give you a free case evaluation. We can also point you to great non-legal resources that can help you figure out your next steps.

Many birth injuries that cause cerebral palsy could have been prevented. Don’t wait, get help today. Call +1 (866) 223-7465, email us at [email protected], or use the live chat button for 24/7 assistance.

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