Cerebral palsy, or CP, is a medical term used to describe developmental motor conditions that cause impairment or disability. Cerebral palsy is not contagious and it isn’t regarded as a disease. Although it is not hereditary, many cases of CP are believed to be caused throughout pregnancy or birth, therefore they are typically referred to as a congenital condition. Cerebral palsy might be related to infection, radiation, or lack of oxygen during brain growth, as well as premature birth and birth trauma. Damage can occur up to age 3.
What is Cerebral Palsy?
Cerebral palsy, caused by “a permanent, non-progressive defect” in the brain, affects movement, posture, and muscle tone. Cerebral palsy is not paralysis, however, the motor centers of the brain become altered with the condition. Eyesight health issues and depth perception, cognition and communication challenges, and musculoskeletal issues can result from cerebral palsy. All cerebral palsy types involve “abnormal muscle tone”, and problems with motor development and reflexes.
Symptoms of CP include spasms, spasticity, involuntary movement, and balance and gait difficulties, including “foot walking” and “scissor walking”. The degree of disorder falls on a continuum, from “slight clumsiness” to severe impairments. Babies with the severe types of CP have bodies which may be rigid or floppy, with irregular posture. There can also be other birth defects as a result of cerebral palsy. Over the course of a child’s growth, symptoms may change or appear. It is generally when the baby becomes mobile that cerebral palsy becomes more evident. Speech problems, from respiratory and muscular difficulties, can also frequently occur.
A number of the secondary conditions related to CP include sensory impairments, eating problems, seizures, epilepsy, behavior and learning disabilities, mental retardation, and continence disorders. Speech impairments or disabilities and language delays are also commonly associated with CP. Early intervention is necessary. Patients with cerebral palsy may also have different leg lengths and shorter height, as CP affects skeletal bone growth. Spasticity and gait problems influence the vertebral development. Cerebral palsy can also interfere with sleep and cause pain and discomfort. It’s essential for individuals or families of children with cerebral treatment to seek treatment options to help relieve some of the symptoms associated with this developmental motor condition.
Traditional Treatments for Cerebral Palsy
Long-term care, from a team of healthcare professionals, can help patients with cerebral palsy properly handle their symptoms. Traditional treatments can come from physiatrists, neurologists, orthopedic surgeons, physical and occupational therapists, speech and development therapists, and from social workers, special education teachers, and mental health specialists.
Because CP patients may have tight muscles and spasticity pain, some drugs and/or medications may be prescribed. To treat “generalized spasticity”, muscle relaxants (i.e. baclofen, diazepam) could be offered. Some of the drugs/medications, however, have dependency hazards and side effects, such as nausea and sleepiness, which is why it’s important to first consult a healthcare professional who specializes in cerebral palsy, regarding the most recommended traditional treatments. To treat “isolated spasticity”, Botox injections may be used. The side effects of Botox injections include fatigue, bruising, as well as trouble swallowing and breathing. Additionally, there are also anti-drooling drugs and/or medications.
Some surgical interventions might also be proposed, such as orthopedic surgery or the severing of nerves to improve symptoms. However, other treatment options should be considered before turning to surgery for CP, unless properly recommended by a healthcare professional. Cerebral palsy patients might also have to wear braces or splints, or use canes, wheelchairs, or walkers. Muscle training and other exercises are also general prescribed as part of traditional treatments.
Chiropractic Care for Cerebral Palsy
While there is no cure for cerebral palsy, many traditional treatments can be used to help manage the symptoms associated with it. Alternative treatment options are safe and effective treatment methods utilized to help improve symptoms of cerebral palsy without the use of drugs and/or medications or surgical interventions. Chiropractic techniques are a type of health care which utilizes spinal adjustments and other bone structure associated treatment methods in order to aid a person’s body in conforming to a more normal position.
Children with cerebral palsy might benefit from chiropractic care for a few different reasons. In individuals with cerebral palsy, distinct body parts may be affected, such as one or both arms and legs. Chiropractic theory suggests that extremities and other body components can become “normalized” if the “central place around the spine” is healed and chiropractic care may be useful in assisting those limbs recover some semblance of activity. Chiropractic care can be used for the fundamental goal of extending and lengthening muscles. When muscles unwind as they do through such therapies, they’re more likely to be stronger and healthier, which is necessary if they’re likely to properly learn how to walk.
In addition, because cerebral palsy is usually caused by a brain injury, chiropractic care may be used in treating other, less noticeable, facets of the motor condition. Some individuals or children with CP have experienced a lot of strain on their musculoskeletal system, requiring the use of chiropractic techniques for basic spinal alignment and overall health and wellness. Behind the doctrine of chiropractic healing lays the idea that the brain and central nervous system control all aspects of the body’s functioning. One study showed “progress in paraspinal muscle tone” with chiropractic care, for many children who had cerebral palsy from birth injury. Another case study demonstrated marked improvement in a child with “hypotonic cerebral palsy”.
Dr. Alex Jimenez’s Insight
Cerebral palsy is believed to be a neurological disorder caused by a non-progressive brain injury or malformation which occurs during the stages of a child’s brain development. Cerebral palsy, or CP, affects body movement, muscle control, muscle coordination, muscle tone, reflex, posture and balance. It can also impact fine motor skills, gross motor skills and oral motor functioning. Although there is no cure for cerebral palsy, several traditional as well as alternative treatment options can help improve the symptoms associated with this neurological disorder. Chiropractic care is an alternative treatment option which can help return some levels of range of motion, mobility, strength and flexibility for individuals with cerebral palsy.
Chiropractic care cannot cure cerebral palsy, but it might help with some of the symptoms and its associated health issues, with no side effects and dangers of drugs/medications and surgery. Chiropractic care is gentle, and it can also improve symptoms such as seizures, spasms, and arm and leg issues. As research on the effectiveness of chiropractic techniques come to light, there are more encouraging signs for the growth of a successful course of action for individuals with cerebral palsy. The scope of our information is limited to chiropractic as well as to spinal injuries and conditions. To discuss the subject matter, please feel free to ask Dr. Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900 .
Curated by Dr. Alex Jimenez
Additional Topics: Sciatica
Sciatica is medically referred to as a collection of symptoms, rather than a single injury and/or condition. Symptoms of sciatic nerve pain, or sciatica, can vary in frequency and intensity, however, it is most commonly described as a sudden, sharp (knife-like) or electrical pain that radiates from the low back down the buttocks, hips, thighs and legs into the foot. Other symptoms of sciatica may include, tingling or burning sensations, numbness and weakness along the length of the sciatic nerve. Sciatica most frequently affects individuals between the ages of 30 and 50 years. It may often develop as a result of the degeneration of the spine due to age, however, the compression and irritation of the sciatic nerve caused by a bulging or herniated disc, among other spinal health issues, may also cause sciatic nerve pain.
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