Cerebral Palsy Birth Injury Treatment
Unfortunately, no miracle treatment exists that can erase
the symptoms of Cerebral Palsy. There are, however, many therapeutic
options that can maximize the physical and mental potential of an
Physical therapy usually begins soon after the diagnosis is made,
during the first few years of life. The programs use specific sets
of exercises to work towards preventing the weakening or deterioration
of muscles that can result from a lack of use and to avoid contracture.
Contracture, when muscles become fixed in rigid, abnormal positions,
is one of the most common and serous complications with Cerebral
Palsy. Spasticity prevents stretching of the body’s muscles
and tendons so muscles do not grow fast enough to keep up with lengthening
bones. Normally, a child’s bones that are growing stretches
the muscles and tendons through daily movement and other activities.
With Cerebral Palsy the contracture can disrupt balance and set
off loss of previous abilities. Physical therapy is used to prevent
this complication by stretching spastic muscles. Some physical therapy
programs work to improve motor development as well. In addition,
behavioral therapy uses psychological theory and techniques. This
can be used to complement physical, speech, or occupational therapy.
Drug therapy is used for those who have seizures associated with
having Cerebral Palsy. The medication is very effective in preventing
seizures for many of the patients. Drugs are also used to control
spasticity in some cases. Medications used most often are diazepam,
a general relaxant of the brain and body, baclofen, blocks signal
sent from the spinal cord to contract the muscles, and datrolene,
interferes with the process of muscle contraction. These drugs are
used for short periods but long-term control of spasticity has not
been demonstrated clearly yet.
Athetoid Cerebral Palsy patients are sometimes given drugs to help
reduce abnormal movements, usually treated by chemicals called anticholinergics.
This chemical reduces the activity of acetylcholine, a chemical
messenger that helps some brain cells communicate and triggers muscle
contraction. Physicians may use injections of alcohol into a muscle
to reduce spasticity for a short period. By doing this to a muscle
that is too short physicians can work on lengthening the muscle
when it becomes weakened for weeks from the alcohol.
Surgery is used when contractures are severe enough to create problems
in movement. The surgeons lengthen the muscle that is too short.
Lengthening a muscle usually makes it weaker so surgery for contractures
is usually followed by recovery months. To reduce spasticity in
the legs, surgery called selective dorsal root rhizotomy is used.
It reduces the amount of stimulation that reaches leg muscles by
the nerves. The effectiveness of this surgery is continually being
A newer device, being the computer, can make a significant difference
in the life of someone with Cerebral Palsy. Children can learn to
control a computer and communicate with others. A special light
pointer attaches to a headband, along with the computer and voice
Treatment for Erbs Palsy, or Brachial Plexus Injuries, include
exercise and therapy or surgery plus therapy. Children who do not
recover by 5 months old may benefit from surgery. Nerve surgery
is performed to improve how well the arm functions. The surgery
is most effective when done when the child is between the ages of
5 and 12 months. After one year old, the surgery may not be as successful.
Surgery is not always recommended and is not always successful.
Contact a cerebral palsy lawyer