Cerebral Palsy

Also called: CP

Cerebral palsy is a group of disorders that affect a person's ability to move and to maintain balance and posture. The disorders appear in the first few years of life. Usually they do not get worse over time. People with cerebral palsy may have difficulty walking. They may also have trouble with tasks such as writing or using scissors. Some have other medical conditions, including seizure disorders or mental impairment.

Cerebral palsy happens when the areas of the brain that control movement and posture do not develop correctly or get damaged. Early signs of cerebral palsy usually appear before 3 years of age. Babies with cerebral palsy are often slow to roll over, sit, crawl, smile, or walk. Some babies are born with cerebral palsy; others get it after they are born.

There is no cure for cerebral palsy, but treatment can improve the lives of those who have it. Treatment includes medicines, braces, and physical, occupational and speech therapy.

NIH: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

Symptoms of Cerebral Palsy

The following features are indicative of Cerebral Palsy:
  • delay in reaching motor or movement milestones
  • variations in muscle tone
  • stiff muscles and exaggerated reflexes
  • stiff muscles with normal reflexes
  • lack of muscle coordination
  • tremors
  • slow or writhing movements
  • favoring one side of the body
  • difficulty walking
  • excessive drooling
  • difficulty with sucking or eating
  • delays in speech development
  • difficulty with precise motions
  • seizures
  • difficulty with vision and hearing
  • intellectual disabilities
  • abnormal touch or pain perceptions
  • oral diseases
  • mental health conditions
  • urinary incontinence

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Common Causes of Cerebral Palsy

The following are the most common causes of Cerebral Palsy:
  • maternal infections
  • fetal stroke
  • infant infections
  • traumatic head injury
  • lack of oxygen to the brain

Risk Factors for Cerebral Palsy

The following factors may increase the likelihood of Cerebral Palsy:
  • infections during pregnancy such as german measles, chickenpox and syphilis
  • illnesses in a newborn baby
  • breech births
  • complicated labor and delivery
  • low birth weight
  • multiple babies
  • premature birth
  • Rh blood type incompatibility between mother and child

Prevention of Cerebral Palsy

No, it is not possible to prevent Cerebral Palsy.
  • mutations in single genes

Occurrence of Cerebral Palsy

Number of Cases

The following are the number of Cerebral Palsy cases seen each year worldwide:
  • Very common > 10 Million cases

Common Age Group

Cerebral Palsy can occur at any age.

Common Gender

Cerebral Palsy can occur in any gender.

Lab Tests and Procedures for Diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy

The following lab tests and procedures are used to detect Cerebral Palsy:
  • Magnetic resonance imaging: To find out any lesions or abnormalities in the child's brain
  • Cranial ultrasound: To obtain images of the brain during infancy
  • Electroencephalogram: To determine if the child has epilepsy
  • Laboratory tests: To diagnose genetic or metabolic problems

Doctor for Diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy

Patients should visit the following specialists if they have symptoms of Cerebral Palsy:
  • Pediatrician
  • Neurologist
  • Pediatric physiatrists

Complications of Cerebral Palsy if untreated

Yes, Cerebral Palsy causes complications if it is not treated. Below is the list of complications and problems that may arise if Cerebral Palsy is left untreated:
  • contracture
  • malnutrition
  • mental health conditions
  • neurological conditions
  • osteoarthritis
  • osteopenia

Procedures for Treatment of Cerebral Palsy

The following procedures are used to treat Cerebral Palsy:
  • Physical therapy: Improves child's strength, flexibility, balance, motor development and mobility
  • Occupational therapy: Enhances the functional abilities
  • Speech and language therapy: Improves child's ability to speak clearly
  • Recreational therapy: Improves child's motor skills, speech and emotional well-being
  • Orthopedic surgery: Lowers the pain and improve mobility
  • Selective dorsal rhizotomy: Relaxes the muscle and decreases the pain

Self-care for Cerebral Palsy

The following self-care actions or lifestyle changes may help in the treatment or management of Cerebral Palsy:
  • Practice good child safety: Helps in preventing head injuries

Alternative Medicine for Treatment of Cerebral Palsy

The following alternate medicine and therapies are known to help in the treatment or management of Cerebral Palsy:
  • Hyperbaric oxygen therapy: Beneficial in treating cerebral palsy

Patient Support for Treatment of Cerebral Palsy

The following actions may help Cerebral Palsy patients:
  • Join support groups: Helps in coping with the cerebral palsy

Time for Treatment of Cerebral Palsy

While time-period of treatment for each patient may vary, below is the typical time-period for Cerebral Palsy to resolve if treated properly under an expert supervision:
  • More than 1 year

Related Topics

Last updated date

This page was last updated on 2/04/2019.
This page provides information for Cerebral Palsy.

Related Topics

Cerebral Palsy

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