What Treatments Are Available for Cerebral Palsy?

Conditions that affect the brain almost always have wide-reaching and devastating consequences for sufferers, and cerebral palsy is no different. Often caused by gene mutations, infections, oxygen deprivation, or traumatic injuries, this condition causes lifelong disabilities, which can range from mild to severe, in children who develop it.

Although the brain is remarkably resilient, especially when injuries and damage occur at a young age, cerebral palsy is not curable, nor do children “grow out of it.” Children with cerebral palsy are typically diagnosed anywhere from infancy to preschool age, and they are frequently referred to specialists who can closely monitor their conditions.

Despite being an incurable condition, there are several treatments for cerebral palsy that can lessen symptoms and help children live more active and independent lives.

Medications that Treat Cerebral Palsy

One of the most common and debilitating effects of cerebral palsy is muscle tightness. This symptom can make it difficult for children to walk or use their arms, hands, and fingers. Two types of medications that can help reduce symptoms include:

  • Injections—Children can receive injections into their muscles or nerves to reduce muscle tightness and improve mobility.
  • Muscle relaxers—Several drugs are designed to cause muscles to relax, and these medications can be used to treat muscle tightness associated with cerebral palsy. Some of these drugs are available as injections or even delivered via surgically implanted pumps.

Therapies that Treat Cerebral Palsy

Several types of therapy can also help reduce the symptoms and improve the quality of life in people who have cerebral palsy, including children. They include:

  • Physical therapy—Exercises that increase muscular strength, improve balance, and enhance flexibility are all beneficial for people with cerebral palsy. Infants and toddlers can particularly benefit from physical therapy, as it can help them learn head and trunk control, rolling, and grasping objects.
  • Speech and language therapy—Cerebral palsy can affect speech and language development due to impairment in muscles used to produce speech and intellectual disabilities. It can involve intervention from speech pathologists and the use of computer and voice synthesizers to improve communication.
  • Recreational therapy—All children love and benefit from play, and recreational therapy can help children with cerebral palsy enjoy its many benefits such as building motor skills and self-esteem. It can include adaptive sports and leisure activities, and even horseback riding and skiing.
  • Occupational therapy—Although many people with cerebral palsy are permanently disabled, some can attend school and later even work and live independently. Occupational therapy can help children become more independent in their daily routines by utilizing equipment such as canes, walkers, and wheelchairs.

Surgeries that Treat Cerebral Palsy

Some children benefit from surgical procedures to lessen the symptoms and impairments associated with cerebral palsy. These procedures include:

  • Orthopedic surgery—Cerebral palsy can cause children to be born with their arms, hips, or legs in unnatural positions. Surgery can correct these positions while also lengthening muscles and tendons to provide greater mobility and reduce pain.
  • Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy—Muscle tightness and spasticity are common in cerebral palsy, and sometimes, medications and therapies don’t work to relax affected muscles. This procedure involves cutting nerves to relax affected muscles, reducing pain.

Mental Health Treatment Is Important, Too

Having a child with cerebral palsy isn’t just difficult for the child, it’s difficult for the entire family. That’s why it’s important to find support everywhere you can while encouraging your child’s physical, cognitive, and emotional development.

Support your child’s efforts at independence as they grow, ask questions and demand answers and follow-ups from their doctors and specialists, and join support groups and organizations centered around families of children with disabilities.

The Costs of Cerebral Palsy Can Be Enormous, But We’re Here to Help

Although there are many treatments designed to improve the quality of life for children and adults with cerebral palsy, there’s no cure. And too often, the disorder is caused by negligent medical professionals who failed to detect risk factors, prevent illnesses, or observe proper delivery protocols and procedures.

If your child developed cerebral palsy in the womb or during a traumatic delivery, you may be eligible for compensation for their medical bills and your entire family’s pain and suffering. Contact Wagner Reese’s Indianapolis lawyers for injured children. We’ll fight to get your family the compensation you’re owed.