What is Cerebral Palsy?
Rather than being a single condition, cerebral palsy is the name of a group that includes several disorders. These conditions affect a person’s overall balance, mobility and muscle tone to varying degrees. The conditions get the umbrella term because they begin in the brain and are thus cerebral, and have an impact on muscle control, a form of palsy. Most people who live with cerebral palsy are born with it as the part of the brain responsible for muscle control is damaged or doesn’t develop as it should. In some cases, a person might show signs of it sometime later. Cerebral palsy includes varying degrees of severity, and it can affect a child’s movement so that walking or changing positions is difficult.
How Can Doctors Diagnose the Condition?
Unfortunately, it can be difficult for doctors to determine the precise catalyst for cerebral palsy in each case. The problem could arise due to bleeding in the brain before the child is born, a brain injury shortly after birth or even certain genetic conditions. While it is currently not possible to say with certainty whether a child will be born with cerebral palsy or not, there are some conditions that increase the likelihood that a child is born with a form of cerebral palsy. These factors include such things as
A mother may attract an infection during pregnancy, such as chicken pox or rubella, that increase these odds as well.
What Treatment Options Are Available for Cerebral Palsy?
Although doctors cannot cure the condition, there are several ways a person with cerebral palsy can minimize the negative impact it can have on their lives. Which options work best will vary from person to person and will depend on the severity of the condition in each case. A relatively mild form of spastic cerebral palsy may only require occupational or physical therapy to keep the muscles moving and in shape. More severe forms of the condition might benefit from orthopedic surgery to correct problems with bones, the gait, or mobility. Any of these solutions might be part of a long-term solution that includes items like leg braces or other equipment that helps to correct muscle control issues and keep a person stable throughout the day.