The type of therapy for patients affected by cerebral palsy varies from patient to patient according to the age group. Therapies should be tailored to suit each patient in different age groups according to the needs of the cerebral palsy patient. While it is important to provide counseling to young patients especially adolescents who are affected by cerebral palsy so that they are able to cope with psychological challenges and emotional issues, adults with cerebral palsy need not only physical therapy but also special care and assistance so that they can go about doing their work. Adolescents need physical therapy along with special education, some form of vocational training and other activities to keep them occupied.
Physical therapy is an important aspect which needs to be implemented the moment diagnosis of cerebral palsy has been made. Vast varieties of physical exercises that involve the extensive movement of the limbs are taught so that the muscles of the cerebral palsy patients become stronger. These exercises will help prevent the muscles from contracture, which leads to rigidity. In normal persons the growth of muscles and tendons is at the same rate as the growth of bones but this is not so in the case of cerebral palsy patients. Here patients are develop spasticity where y their muscles are prevented from stretching leading to either limpness or rigidity in the muscles. Children, who are attending school need physical therapy so that they can go about doing their own work like moving about independently, are able to read, write, and even use the bathroom by themselves.
Contracture is a major concern, which affects those with cerebral palsy. Here the muscles become shortened because of the abnormal growth of the muscles and tendons, which is not in line with the growth of the bones. To help prevent contracture, patients are provided physical therapy along with the use of special braces.
Another aspect in physical therapy includes improving the child’s motor development. The Bo bath technique, designed by a husband and wife team, helps to counter act reflexes by working in the opposite direction. For example, if a child who has cerebral palsy has his or her leg or arm flexed then the therapist resorts to extend it repeatedly. Patterning is another technique used during physical therapy. In this approach, the child is taught to make movements that are in line with normal movement. For example, the child is taught to bring himself up, to stand and then crawl before he is taught to walk. Patterning is a controversial approach that has faced stiff opposition from many experts who are dealing with cerebral palsy patients.
A child with cerebral palsy needs extensive physical therapy programs so that they can grow normally like other children. Physical therapy provides varied opportunities and stimulates the child to work towards being normal and be better able to take of himself. The need for extensive physical therapy for children with cerebral palsy is important as it provides them with different experiences that are challenging and stimulating so that they can have better interaction with the world despite their disability.