Understanding The Purpose of Cerebral Palsy Treatment

Raising a child with cerebral palsy (CP) comes with its own set of challenges, but with precise organization, planning and support, you can actually handle the task effortlessly. On this, World Cerebral Palsy Day, we are here to talk about purpose, prognosis and treatment plan of this disease, so that you can know how to give a child affected with CP, a healthy and normal lifestyle.

What is Cerebral Palsy or CP

Cerebral Palsy is a cognitive disorder that activates several other physical deformities like muscle tone, movement and motor skills.  CP is triggered by brain damage, or any kind of harsh attack on the brain of a baby during its birth, but the signs and symptoms become obvious during the first three to five years of the child’s life. Children affected with CP, experience impaired movement (mostly due to abnormal reflexes, rigidity or floppiness of the limbs and unsteady walking), lack of coordination, intellectual and cognitive disorder and a multitude of other health issues, such as vision problems, deafness, impaired speech and so on.

Purpose of the Treatment

As mentioned earlier, cerebral palsy is a cognitive disorder, which is caused by brain damage. So, it’s quite obvious that a complete cure is not possible in this scenario. The affected child has to live with it the entire life, but the modern treatment plans can definitely help to curb the difficulties. Cerebral palsy treatment plans that are used today primarily aimed at giving a patient, a manageable and healthy life as much as possible. The objective is to allow the cerebral palsy patients maximize their independence.

The Treatment Plans

Every child is different and so are their requirements. Hence, the treatment plan varies greatly depending on the diagnosis. Moreover, it’s not about treating the physical disabilities only. There are social and emotional aspects too, which should be taken care while considering the treatment plan. Leading a normal life is a lot about emotional stability and hence, the physical and psychological impact of the treatment should be evaluated on a priority basis.

Among the most common treatment plans, mention must be made of the following.

Physical Therapy

This is the first and most important phase of treating a person affected with CP. Physical therapy essentially aims at developing the motor functions (balance, posture, flexibility and strength), so that the movement becomes effortless without any dependence. Physical therapy should be started at the tender age of the child, so that the effects of this disease do not affect him during the growing years.

Speech Therapy

Birth injuries often affect the parts of brain that control speech. With  appropriate speech therapy, a child with cerebral palsy can  learn about right pronunciation and communicate more effectively. Speech therapy also benefits the cerebral palsy patients to learn other everyday skills like eating, drinking and breathing. The therapy involves some light exercises that make the facial  and  oral muscle work properly.

Medications

Medications can’t treat the disease itself, instead the medicines can work on the secondary conditions that are triggered due to cerebral palsy. A wide variety of medicines (mostly antidepressants) are prescribed to the CP patients to reduce the effects of seizures, spasticity, incontinence, nerve blocks, gastroesophageal (acid) reflux and other conditions.

Surgery

Physical disabilities and mobility issues in CP patients can be controlled to a great extent by surgical procedure. But, at the same time, it’s to be considered that surgery might not be successful for all patients. Surgery is highly recommended for people with spastic cerebral palsy, as it helps in reducing the muscle tone and thus, relieving the restricted movement.

Prognosis and Cure

Cerebral palsy is a difficult condition and most of the time it turns worse even before comprehending the ailment and treatment starts. Modern treatment plans can somewhat reduce the symptoms, but the prognosis is still very poor. Recently, clinical trials have been done on stem cell therapy to evaluate its effect on the associated conditions of cerebral palsy. There’s been a strong contention among the scientists about its efficiency, though further research is required to establish it as a perfect cure.

Life is too difficult for a disabled child. On the World Cerebral Palsy Day, let’s take a pledge to make their life a little better.