Diagnosis, Causes, & Management Of Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy (CP) is a permanent but unchanging impairment of muscle movement, tone, and coordination due to an insult in the developing brain during any age from fetus to almost 5 years old. Vision, hearing, and other functions of the brain are frequently affected by cerebral palsy.

Diagnosis For Cerebral Palsy:

Cerebral palsy symptoms and signs can worsen over time, thus a diagnosis may not be obtained for six months to a year after birth. When the symptoms and indicators are minor, the diagnosis may take longer to come.

A doctor will use a comprehensive medical history, a physical examination that includes a thorough neurological examination, an evaluation of the symptoms, and more to determine whether a patient has cerebral palsy.

Additional analyses such as the following could potentially be used:

  • Electroencephalogram (EEG)-To assess brain electrical activity, an EEG is performed. When a child also has features of seizures or epilepsy. Find out more about seizures and epilepsy.
  • MRI– An MRI uses powerful magnets and radio waves to produce exact images of the brain. A medical professional might run an MRI to look for abnormalities or brain damage.
  • Ultrasound-Using high-frequency sound waves, cranial ultrasonography is a technique for capturing basic images of a developing infant’s brain. 
  •  Blood test-In order to rule out further potential illnesses, such as bleeding disorders.

Causes of cerebral palsy:

The fetus or infant’s brain sustains an injury, which results in cerebral palsy. Although the precise origin of brain injury can be difficult to determine, there are a number of factors that may contribute to a child’s development of the condition.

Typical causes of cerebral palsy include:

  • Viral and bacterial illnesses, including meningitis
  • There  is bleeding in the brain (hemorrhage)
  • Head traumas that occurred during pregnancy, delivery, or within the first few years of life
  • Asphyxia, or a lack of oxygen to the brain, before, during, or after delivery
  • Exposure to alcohol and drugs during pregnancy
  • Exposure to raw or undercooked meat or seafood during pregnancy

The brain may not develop normally if it suffers damage before the age of five.

Management  for Cerebral Palsy:

Cerebral palsy is not a curable condition. Once cerebral palsy is diagnosed, the goal of treatment is to develop a child’s residual abilities in order to lessen symptoms and promote independence.

1. Medications:

Drugs that relax muscles are frequently used to alleviate the effects of spasticity. Muscle relaxation aids in easing the pain caused by muscle spasms.

Your physician might advise:

  • Dantrolene and baclofen (Dantrium)
  • Diazepam

Your doctor may also recommend intrathecal baclofen therapy (Gablofen, Lioresal), which delivers the medication through an implanted pump, or local injections of botulinum toxin type A (Botox).

2. Therapy:

The symptoms of cerebral palsy can be treated with a variety of therapies. Therapy can help with mobility and cognitive function.

  • Physical therapy: Aids in reducing pain and muscle stiffness and enhances mobility by enhancing balance and coordination. Physical therapists will make use of specialist tools to enable your kid to move around more easily and lead a more autonomous life.
  • By enhancing their fine motor skills and cognitive abilities, children with cerebral palsy can learn how to execute common chores and activities.
  • Speech therapy: Assists kids in developing their language and communication abilities. This kind of therapy offers kids the self-assurance they need to learn and interact with others. Children who have trouble swallowing or eating may benefit from speech therapy.
  • Alternative therapy: Enables kids to concentrate on who they are as people and helps them get through physical and emotional challenges. Hippotherapy (which involves horseback riding), music therapy, water therapy, acupuncture, and other forms of alternative treatment are among them.

3. Surgery:

It is possible to increase mobility and relieve discomfort through orthopedic surgery. It could also be required to treat bone abnormalities brought on by spasticity or to loosen up tense muscles.

As a last option, selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR) may be suggested to lessen persistent pain or stiffness. It entails severing nerves close to the spinal column’s base.

4. Other treatments:

People with cerebral palsy who struggle with speech, hearing, or vision can benefit from specialized assistive technology.

  • Cochlear implantation
  • Electronic message boards
  • Eye-tracking technology
  • Writing assistance
  • Writing tools

A multidisciplinary team who specializes in Cerebral Palsy is ideal to achieve the optimum/best outcome for your child.