Cerebral palsy: Symptoms, treatment and prevention

cerebral palsy treatments

Getting to know that your child has cerebral palsy can be devastating news. However, educating yourself on the condition can help you manage the disorder perfectly. There is currently no cure for cerebral palsy, but there are numerous treatment options that can help babies and children live quality lives that turn into successful adult lives.

What Is Cerebral Palsy?

Cerebral palsy (CP) is the name for a group of lifelong conditions that affect movement and co-ordination. It is caused by a problem with the brain that occurs before, during or soon after birth. It hinders the body’s ability to move in a coordinated and purposeful way. Additionally, it can affect other body functions that involve motor skills and muscles such as breathing, hearing, bladder and bowel control, eating, and talking.

Signs and symptoms appear during infancy or preschool years. Cerebral palsy’s effect on functional abilities varies greatly. Some affected people can walk while others can’t. Some people show normal or near-normal intellectual capacity, but others may have intellectual disabilities. Epilepsy, blindness or deafness also may be present.

What Causes Cerebral Palsy?

The cause of CP isn’t always known. But many cases happen when a child’s brain is still developing, such as before birth or in early infancy. This may be due to:

  • infections during pregnancy
  • genetic factors,
  • using illegal drugs
  • born prematurely
  • improper use of forceps and other tools during delivery
  • meningitis
  • born a twin or other multiple birth
  • being in a car accident
  • low-birth weight
  • the brain temporarily not getting enough oxygen during a difficult birth

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Cerebral Palsy?

The symptoms of CP aren’t usually obvious just after a baby is born. They normally become noticeable during the first two or three years of a child’s life.

  • Head falls back when picked up while lying on back
  • Weak arms or legs
  • Jerky or clumsy movements
  • Random, uncontrolled movements
  • Feels stiff and floppy
  • Seems to overextend back and neck when cradled in someone’s arms
  • Legs get stiff and cross or scissor when picked up
  • Doesn’t roll over in either direction
  • Cannot bring hands together
  • Has difficulty bringing hands to mouth
  • Reaches out with only one hand while keeping the other fisted

How is Cerebral Palsy Diagnosed?

In many instances, CP isn’t diagnosed until the child reaches the age of walking and talking. Furthermore, there isn’t a single test that can completely confirm or completely exclude cerebral palsy. Instead, a combination of a series of tests, observations, assessments, and evaluations are used to help diagnose the disorder.

Treatments for cerebral palsy

There’s currently no cure for cerebral palsy, but treatments are available to help people with the condition have a normal and independent a life as possible.

As soon as cerebral palsy is diagnosed. A child can begin therapy for movement and other areas that need help, such as learning, speech, hearing, and social and emotional development.

Medicine helps kids who have a lot of muscle pain and stiffness. They can take medicine by mouth or get it through a pump placed under the skin. The following medications may be prescribed  to help with cerebral palsy symptoms include:

  • Baclofen
  • Diazepam
  • Anticonvulsants
  • Anticholinergics
  • Stool softeners/laxatives

Surgery can help fix dislocated hips and scoliosis (curved spine), which are common in kids with cerebral palsy. Leg braces help with walking.

Is there any Preventive measure for cerebral palsy?

Most cases of cerebral palsy cannot be prevented because most causes of the disorder are still unknown. However, there are always steps you can take while pregnant to help lower your risk of having a baby with cerebral palsy.

If you’re not pregnant yet, make sure you’re eating healthy, wholesome foods and that any pre-existing medical problems are under control. If you’re already pregnant, it’s crucial to continue to eat healthy while taking prenatal vitamins and avoiding drinking alcohol and smoking.

About felclinic 593 Articles
Felix Ntifo is a Registered General Nurse who has so much passion to improve health care delivery. He founded FelClinic with the hope of making health information accessible to everyone who may not come in contact with him personally. "At felclinic.com we are very passionate about health and well-being of everyone. Our team is made up of professional doctors, nurses, midwives and lab technicians."

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