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Cerebral Palsy Therapy

While cerebral palsy cannot be cured, many forms of treatment make life easier and more fulfilling for these patients. Two important types of CP treatment are physical therapy and occupational therapy.

Cerebral Palsy Physical Therapy

Physical therapy helps to improve a cerebral palsy patient's use of the large muscles of the body. The therapist helps the child use the muscles to maintain or increase:

  • Mobility
  • Flexibility
  • Strength
  • Function
  • Stamina
  • Balance

Physical therapy usually is started soon after cerebral palsy is diagnosed. The physical therapist teaches the child exercises, moves the child's limbs, and places him or her in certain positions to improve mobility and flexibility. The therapist works with the child and parents so they can do exercises at home.

Physical therapists help patients learn to:

  • Walk
  • Use a wheelchair
  • Sit
  • Climb and descend stairs
  • Work their muscles

Exercises are meant to prevent contractures of muscles that can deform joints and to strengthen muscles that might weaken because they are not used.

Cerebral Palsy Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapy helps the child with using and controlling the small muscles needed to accomplish the tasks of daily living such as feeding, dressing, brushing the teeth and hair, or bathing. The goal of occupational therapy is to make the person with cerebral palsy as independent as possible.

The occupational therapist helps in finding equipment and special instruments that assist activities like feeding or buttoning a shirt. Special spoons, forks, and plates have all been developed for cerebral palsy patients.

Types of Cerebral Palsy Therapy Programs

There are other kinds of cerebral palsy therapy programs besides physical and occupational therapy, which involve:

  • Speech therapists or pathologists help children, who may have problems controlling the muscles of the face and tongue, learn to form words and pronounce difficult sounds. Speech pathologists also help some patients learn to swallow.
  • Hippotherapy involves horseback riding to help patients learn balance, strengthen muscles, improve posture, coordination, and speech. It also improves children's self-esteem, gives them a sense of accomplishment and is fun.
  • Hyperbaric oxygen therapy involves administering 100 percent oxygen to patients enclosed in a pressurized hyperbaric chamber. The benefits of this therapy are as yet undetermined, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and further studies are needed.

Controversial physical therapies about which the American Academy of Pediatrics has expressed strong reservations include:

  • Patterning
  • The Bobath technique
  • Conductive education

Compensation for Therapies Might be Available

If your child is diagnosed with cerebral palsy, you might be eligible to seek and recover compensation that can pay for expensive treatments such as different types of therapy. To find out if you qualify to seek compensation, please contact our cerebral palsy lawyers today.