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Hippotherapy and Cerebral Palsy

Hippotherapy in children and adults with cerebral palsy—a condition caused by brain damage that effects posture and movement—is becoming increasingly popular in the U.S. Hippotherapy is both a physical and occupational therapy treatment that utilizes horseback riding to provide engaging, enjoyable, and challenging activities that can significantly improve muscle tone, posture, balance, walking abilities, and more.

How Does Hippotherapy Work?

The idea behind hippotherapy is that the horse's movement provides a sense of rhythm to the rider as well as forces the rider's torso and hips to align and move in the proper physical way. Hippotherapy for patients with cerebral palsy essentially improves rhythm and movement, encourages step spacing (horses step with approximately the same frequency as humans), and promotes normal off-horse movement by training natural motor responses.

Benefits of Hippotherapy

Hippotherapy can help children and adults with cerebral palsy on many levels. It contributes to a rider's well being physically, psychologically, and emotionally. Some of the physical impairments that may be improved by hippotherapy in people with cerebral palsy are:

  • Abnormal tone
  • Impaired coordination
  • Impaired communication
  • Decreased mobility
  • Poor posture
  • Impaired balance
  • Impaired limbic system function

Improvement in these areas can lead to improvement in gross motor skills (walking, standing, sitting, etc.), speech, comprehension, and behavior, including motivation, attention, and arousal.

Hippotherapy is also very emotionally rewarding for children and their families. The bond that develops between a child and a horse during hippotherapy treatment is something that a child will both cherish and be motivated by. This therapeutic activity can also increase self-confidence and encourage a child's success.

Your Legal Rights

If you suspect your child's cerebral palsy may have been the result of medical negligence, the cost of hippotherapy and other types of treatment can be recovered through a cerebral palsy lawsuit. You may also be eligible to seek compensation for other damages including medical bills and pain and suffering. Please contact us today to speak with a qualified and caring medical malpractice attorney who can help protect your legal rights and interest.

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