Cerebral Palsy is defined as a group of permanent disorders of development, movement and posture. What this means is that an affected person may have difficulty with these things, although the degree may vary from individual to individual. For example, some people with Cerebral Palsy don’t have a lot of brain damage while others do. Some can’t sit or stand alone while others can, albeit with difficulty and some can get around with a cane or walker while others have to use a wheelchair.
This condition can occur either through abnormal development during a pregnancy where the parts of the brain that are responsible for movement and balance just don’t develop properly, or it can occur during childbirth for a variety of reasons, for example the baby’s oxygen could be compromised as he or she is being born. It can also occur shortly after birth for a variety of reasons. In three quarters of cases, however, the condition happens sometime during a pregnancy, leaving only a quarter of cases to happen during birth or shortly after.
People with Cerebral Palsy may have a smaller head than average, a smaller jawbone than others and also may have a spinal curvature that makes it difficult to stand and walk. Some may drool and speech and language problems are also common, possibly thanks to the smaller jawbone and/or cognitive problems associated with the condition. Intellectual disabilities are also common, as are deafness and blindness, depending on the severity of the case.
Other symptoms of the disorder are poor coordination, stiff and/or weak muscles and tremors. Some patients may also have swallowing problems and some babies with the disorder may not be able to suck properly which leads to a lot of trouble when it comes to feeding.
There are different surgeries that someone with Cerebral Palsy may go through in order to make their lives better, but there is no cure. The surgeries would be used to help the affected muscles work better and to cut nerves to the affected areas in order for them to be better used by the individual.
Physical therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy and massage therapy are all things that are used to try to manipulate the muscles and limbs to function at a better rate than those without therapy. Keeping the muscles and joints moving will lower the rate of muscle atrophy and help keep the patient more comfortable.