What is Cerebral Palsy?
Cerebral palsy is primarily a disorder of voluntary movement and co-ordination, due to a defect or lesion of the immature brain. It is an umbrella term covering a group of non-progressive, though not unchanging, motor impairment conditions, which range from multiple and profound to barely detectable.
Types of cerebral palsy
Spastic cerebral palsy
Spastic refers to the term spasticity which is an increase in the individual’s muscle tone causing their voluntary movements to be restricted and uncoordinated. It is the most common form of cerebral palsy affecting 75-80% of people with this condition.
Spasticity arises due to damage to a specific area of the brain affecting the corticospinal and corticobulbar nerve tracts. Spasticity is a symptom seen in a number of different conditions including cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury and multiple sclerosis.
Ataxic cerebral palsy
Refers to disordered movements characterised by short and jerky movements. This occurs as an inability for the body to activate the correct muscles while attempting movement. This often servely affects balance and awareness of the space around them, making it dificult to judge their position in relation to things around them. Often muscle tone is normal or decreased and speech and language may be affected; this type of cerebral palsy affects around 4%.
Dyskinetic cerebral palsy
Can also be called dystonic, athetoid or choreoathetoid cerebral palsy. Usually comprises slow writhing movements where muscle tone fluctuates between increased and decreased tone (tight to loose). This can affect the whole body making some of the most common tasks extremely difficult especially maintaining an upright standing position. This also may affect speech as the person may find it difficult to control the various actions involved in talking. This affects around 15% of people with cerebral palsy.
Mixed cerebral palsy
People with mixed cerebral palsy have a combination of two or three of the above types. It is most often a combination of spastic and athetoid cerebral palsy, which results in stiff muscle tone and involuntary movements.
Cerebral Palsy Physiotherapy
About us & Cerebral Palsy
We are specialist neuro physiotherapists with vast experience in treating cerebral palsy. We implement various methods of treatment including Bobath, Carr and Conductive Education. In conjunction we use technology such as functional electrical stimulation to promote movement patterns and a sense of balance. An example of which is the MyGait, a wireless drop foot device. A child with cerebral palsy is more than the sum total of their symptoms; as such we treat the individual as whole rather than their symptoms.
Cerebral Palsy Assessment
Our first step is to carry out an in depth two hour assessment, this allows us to establish the abilities and disabilities of the person. As no two people are the same our assessment allows us to formulate the best treatment and exercise plan to move forward with. You can find out more about our assessment by clicking here.
Cerebral Palsy Physiotherapy
Treatment is focussed on addressing individual needs, as we mentioned above people often have a range of different types of cerebral palsy with different abilities. Most come to us as children with cerebral palsy and we find they do best when they get help from an early age. We will work together to maximise each child’s potential for control, posture, function and mobility helping them to develop and grow into adults and able to live as independently as possible. We treat babies, toddlers, children, teenagers and adults with the condition.
Above all else we make sure treatment is fun even for the adults and we find that this approach makes every child want to come to there next session as they not only improve physically but also enjoy it.
Orthotics can play a vital role in the treatment of cerebral palsy and we work very closely with one of the top specialists in the UK. If the person does need an orthotic then we will talk to our partners at the London Orthotic Consultancy and work with them to make sure it is designed and built to help the person in the best way.