Cerebral Palsy – Treatment, Prevention and Home Remedies for Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral Palsy is a non-progressive, non-contagious disorder of the brain that causes physical disability in a child that affects the various areas of body movement. This is caused because the damage occurs to the motor control centers of the developing brain and this happens during pregnancy, childbirth or after birth up to the age of three. The motor disorders are usually accompanied by disturbances of sensation, cognition, communication, perception and behavior. This disorder can cause musculoskeletal problems.
The damage that occurs in the brain does not worsen with time, but a child with cerebral palsy may need long term care. The type of treatment mainly depends upon the severity of the symptoms. They include:
The medical treatment may include certain medications for reducing the symptoms. They include:
- Muscle Relaxants: Oral medications are the first option as they relax the stiffened and contracted muscles. Injections are sometimes administered directly to the fluid surrounding the spinal cord via a pump surgically. The side effects of this drug include drowsiness and an upset stomach.
- Botulinum toxin A: Injections of botulinum toxin help to relieve the muscle spasms and contractures but in some children, they may cause serious problems with swallowing and breathing.
There are some therapies that are recommended by a doctor to those children suffering from severe forms of cerebral palsy. The different therapeutic interventions include:
- Physical Therapy: Muscle training and exercises may help your child’s strength, balance, flexibility, mobility and motor development. Splints or braces can also be used for better movement.These can support a child and help in improving the gait, stretch the stiffened muscles and help to prevent contractures.
- Occupational Therapy: This therapy works to promote a child’s independent participation in the daily activities and routines at home, school and community. This may also treat difficulties with swallowing and feeding.
- Speech Therapy: Specially trained therapists improve the child’s ability to speak clearly and communicate with each other using sign language. Special communication devices like a board covered with pictures of items that are used daily and sentences can be made by making the child point at the pictures. This improves the communication of a child.
- Sensory Integration Therapy: This therapy includes stimulating the touch receptors and pressure points on different parts of the body. Certain items like water, Styrofoam chips and textured toys can also motivate children to learn sequence of movements.
Certain surgical procedures may be done to improve the mobility of a child. This includes:
- Orthopedic: A child with severe deformities or contractures may be advised for surgery on the bones, tendons, or joints to place their legs and arms in their correct position. When these surgical procedures are done, then the use of a walker, crutches or braces can make the movement much easier.
- Severing nerves: This procedure is done for those children who have severe deformities. The surgeon may cut the nerves serving the spastic muscles which relaxes the muscles and reduces the pain, but this can cause numbness.
Prevention of Cerebral Palsy
This disorder of the brain occurs mainly during pregnancy, birth and early childhood. The different ways to prevent this disorder include:
Prevention before and during pregnancy
- Do not smoke.
- Eat nutritious foods.
- Avoid exposure to harmful substances.
- Seek your doctor for continuous prenatal examinations.
- Immunization against diseases like rubella can prevent fetal brain damage.
- Take good care of yourself during pregnancy.
Prevention in a young child
- Minimize the child’s risk for sustaining a brain injury.
- Take measures to prevent accidents.
- Observe for jaundice in newborns.
- Immunize your child regularly.
- Take preventive measures from endemic, epidemic or pandemic infections.
Home Remedies for Cerebral Palsy
Some of the common herbs used for the treatment of cerebral palsy include:
- Antioxidants: These herbs are important for the proper functioning of brain, nerves and the muscles. The herbs that have antioxidant properties are rosemary, ginger and ginkgo biloba.
Care of a child at home with Cerebral Palsy
- Feeding and eating: Position the child properly during meals and serve soft or semi-solid foods like oatmeal. Special utensils like plates that stick to surface can be used as this improves the ability to chew and swallow.
- Using the toilet: Some children have stiff joints that make sitting difficult while using a toilet. Special undergarments can be worn by a child suffering from this disorder. A physiotherapist can be called to train the child for the muscle problems.
- Dental care: A mechanized teeth-cleaning water spray or electric toothbrush can be given for the child and toothpaste for sensitive gums. Make sure that your child has regular dental checkups. Drooling is another problem in a child suffering from this disorder as this can cause skin irritation around the chin, mouth and chest. Application of lotions or corn starch to areas that are prone to irritation and the use of absorbent clothing to cover the chest can reduce the irritation.
- Safety: A child suffering from this disorder is prone to injuries especially if they are affected by seizures. Take safety measures like using heavy, sturdy furniture. Polished floors can be avoided to reduce the risk of accidents. Keep away sharp objects from the child and never leave the child with this disorder alone at home.
Bathing and grooming: Children can be taught some level of self-grooming by regular practice. Provide clothes that are easy to put on and take off like those that have large buttons and zip in the front and not at the back or Velcro fasteners.