Cerebral palsy can be commonly termed as brain paralysis. It is a condition relating to disorders of body movement, balance and posture. The major causes of cerebral palsy include abnormal development or damage to one or more parts of the brain, which may result in disorders in body movement, balance and posture. Cerebral palsy is detected in the early phase of life as the development of the infant is slowed.
The problems caused by cerebral palsy include muscle stiffness, poor muscle tone, uncontrolled movements, and problems with posture, balance, coordination, walking, speech, swallowing, mental retardation, seizures, breathing, learning disabilities, bladder and bowel control problems, skeletal deformities, eating difficulties, dental problems, digestive problems, hearing and vision problems, and many other related problems.
Cerebral palsy can be further divided into spastic (pyramidal), dyskinetic (extrapyramidal) and mixed. Spastic (pyramidal) includes muscle stiffness and jerky and awkward movements. Dyskinetic (extrapyramidal) includes coordination of movements and can be further divided into 2 sub-categories: athetoid and ataxic. The mixed type may include a mix of any of the above mentioned types.
There are different types of treatments for cerebral-palsy, which are further discussed in this article. These are physical therapy (PT), occupational therapy (OT), speech-language pathology (S/L), physical, behavioural therapy, drug therapy, surgery and mechanical aids.
The physical therapy is aimed at helping the child develop strong muscles and help him in learning walk, sit and maintain his balance. The occupational therapy is aimed at developing fine motor skills of the child such as dressing, feeding, writing and other daily living tasks. The speech-language therapy is aimed at developing the communication skills of the child as he may have problems with his tongue muscles causing problems in speech.
Assistive technology, which includes communication devices and computer technology, is used in aid to these therapies. These technologies have communication boards, augmentative communication devices and electronic toys with special switches to sophisticated computer programs, which help the children in improving their performance.
Then, there are physical, behavioural and other therapies for the treatment of cerebral-palsy. All these technologies are used collaboratively to provide maximum support and care to the children with cerebral palsy, so that they can have better growth and development.
Drug therapy is often carried out to control the seizures and to reduce abnormal movements in the patients of cerebral-palsy. If the contractures are very severe, and they cause immense problems in movement, surgery is also done. The surgical procedures often involve the lengthening of the muscles or tendons, in case they are short than the normal. Chronic cerebellar stimulation and stereotaxic thalamotomy is included in experimental surgical techniques. These are used to stimulate certain cerebellar nerves.
These are some of the treatments that are carried out to help the people cerebral-palsy so that they can lead a better life and to reduce their dependency on other people. However, all these treatments are very time consuming, and they require a lot of patience from the patient as well as his family. These methods and techniques have so far been very successful to a great extent and for treating cerebral palsy.