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Occupational Therapy for Cerebral Palsy
Physical Therapy for Cerebral Palsy
Rehabilitation and Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral Palsy and Dysphagia Therapy
Cerebral Palsy And Speech Therapy
Craniosacral Therapy for Cerebral Palsy
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) for Cerebral Palsy
Space Suit Therapy for Cerebral Palsy
Strength Training for Cerebral Palsy
New Treatments for Cerebral Palsy
Chiropractic and Cerebral Palsy
Coordination Activities for Teens with Cerebral Palsy
Electrical Stimulation for Cerebral Palsy
Exercises for People with Cerebral Palsy
Swimming and Cerebral Palsy
The Feldenkrais Method for Cerebral Palsy
Hippotherapy and Cerebral Palsy
The numbers on cerebral palsy patients are growing every year. Currently, there are 800,000 children and adults in the United States alone affected by some type of cerebral palsy, and an additional 8,000 children are diagnosed each year. With each case being as unique as the individual it affects, the type of cerebral palsy treatment a patient requires will vary from person to person.
The primary goal and objective of cerebral palsy treatment should be focused on the individual reaching the highest level of independence. Reaching this level of independence will relieve stress on both the patient and the caregivers. A multidisciplinary team of healthcare professionals can develop an individualized plan for cerebral palsy treatment based on the patient’s needs and problems. It is important to involve patients, families, teachers, and caregivers in all phases of planning, decision- making, and treatment.
Physical therapy is considered one of the mainstay therapies for cerebral palsy treatment. It is used to decrease spasticity, strengthen underlying muscles, and teach proper or functional motor patterns. A good physical therapist will also teach the family and caregivers how to help the patient to help themselves. Occupational therapy is used for fine motor skills and daily living activities. Another mainstay therapy for cerebral palsy treatment, occupational therapy is used much in the same way as physical therapy, primarily focusing on the hands and arms. Because throat and tongue muscles may be affected as well, speech and language therapy are available too. Speech and language therapy is used for spoken and alternative types of communication, such as sign language or computers.
Exercise therapies can greatly enhance the mindset of the patient and give them a great sense of accomplishment. Whether indoor or outdoor, exercise increases the amount of oxygen delivered to the brain and can alleviate stress. Swimming can be quite beneficial during cerebral palsy treatment, preferably in a warmer than average pool. Movements performed in water will be easier and more effective at exercising muscles. Recreational therapists are available to teach your child how to swim, which for some patients may be their only mobility. Hippotherapy, also known as horseback riding, involves specially trained physical and occupational therapists in treatment for patients with movement dysfunction. The benefits are in the horse’s movements and the patient can bond with the animal as well. In hippotherapy, the horse influences the patient rather than the patient controlling the horse. The patient is positioned on the horse and actively responds to his movement. The therapist directs the movement of the horse, analyzes the patient’s responses, and adjusts the treatment accordingly. This strategy is used as part of an integrated treatment program to achieve functional outcomes in cerebral palsy treatment.
Another cerebral palsy treatment called therapeutic electrical stimulation (TES) is administered at night while the patient sleeps. TES has been proven to add more muscle fiber, but exercise and therapy must be used to teach the patient what to do with the newly strengthened muscle tissue. Botox, usually associated with wrinkle reduction, can be used effectively to reduce spasticity in muscles during cerebral palsy treatment. New studies also show that hyperbaric oxygen therapy, during which pure oxygen in circulated in a pressurized tank, can restore function to nerve cells that border the area of brain damage, rejuvenating them to a functional degree.
Unfortunately, all of these treatments are not available everywhere, nor are they necessarily going to be effective in each and every case of cerebral palsy treatment. Consult with your doctors and therapists, talk to people who have tried the treatment, and do your own research as well before deciding what cerebral palsy treatment is right for your child.