Cerebral Palsy – An umbrella term
What is Cerebral Palsy?
Upon breaking down this term we see two words; cerebral andpalsy. Cerebral means a condition concerned with the brain whilepalsy means impairment of motor function. Cerebral palsy is not adisorder or disease itself in fact it is an umbrella term used formultiple disorders in the human body.
Cerebral palsy or CP is a group of neurological disorders inwhich the motor cortex of the brain is damaged either before thebirth of a child when the brain is still developing or during thebirth of a child due to carelessness or any pathological conditionof mother or child itself.
However, CP is not caused only as a result of the injury.Sometimes the brain of a child is under-developed by the time ofbirth. The irreversible damage causes loss of proper motion andmovement ability of the human body.
A patient of CP is unable to perform daily life choreseffectively. They are even unable to keep track of their bodymotions. Surprisingly, this neurological group of disorders is themost common motor and movement disability among children.
Types of Cerebral Palsy
There are five types of CP. In each type, a different part ofthe brain is involved due to which different types of movementdisorders occur.
- Spastic Cerebral Palsy
In this type, muscles become stiff, reflexes are exaggerated andit becomes really difficult for a person to walk. A typical patientof spastic CP has walking problems which include crossing theirknees and scissor-like movements with their legs. Other than aproblem in walking muscle weakness and paralysis also exists eitherone or both sides of the body. Among all the cases of CP, 80% ofcases are of spastic CP making it the most common type ofcerebral palsy.
- Dyskinetic Cerebral Palsy
In this type, there are sudden, involuntary, and abnormalmovements in the upper and lower limbs. These movements are eitherslow and writhing or rapid and jerky. It makes holding objects,writing, and picking objects impossible. Sometimes, theseinvoluntary movements also originate in the face and tongue due towhich it becomes very difficult for the person to talk, eat, drink,chew, and swallow.
- Hypotonic Cerebral Palsy
In this type, there is a complete loss of muscle tone. Musclesof the upper and lower limb, thorax, and abdomen become very floppyas if loosely held. Since there is diminished muscle tone arms andlegs move very easily without any serious effort. In thistype of cases, babies are unable to hold their heads firmly as theykeep falling on one side or another. Also, they have troublesitting straight. Speech, walking, and reflexes are impaired.
- Ataxic Cerebral Palsy
In this type, the patient mainly has trouble maintaining balanceand equilibrium. The affected person might voluntarily perform amovement but it appears quite jerky and clumsy at the same time.Disorganized movements with the loss of balance make walking andother functions like writing and holding objects quite difficult.Ataxic CP is the most uncommon type of cerebral palsy.
- Mixed Cerebral Palsy
In this type, as the name suggests two types of CP mergetogether. The combination of symptoms from two different CPs iscalled Mixed Cerebral Palsy. In most of the cases, dyskinetic andspastic cerebral palsy are involved in this type.
Classification of Cerebral Palsy
World Health Organization (WHO) and Surveillance of CerebralPalsy in Europe coined the Gross Motor Function ClassificationSystem (GMFCS). It is a universal standard to determine thecapabilities of people affected with cerebral palsy. GMFCSclassifies the patient in the respective category by focusing ontheir ability to sit, the capability for movement and mobility,understanding and prioritizing their independence, and the use ofadaptive technology.
- Level 1 of cerebral palsy involves the abilityto walk without limitations.
- Level 2 of cerebral palsy involves the abilityto walk a long distance without limitations. However, they lack theability to run and jump. They walk with the help of arm and legbraces and often need a wheelchair when leaving theirhome.
- Level 3 of cerebral palsy involves the abilityto stand without any assistive devices or human help and sit withlittle help. They usually need walkers or canes for support whilewalking and a wheelchair when leaving their homes.
- Level 4 of cerebral palsy involves the abilityto sit with some help and the ability to move in awheelchair.
- Level 5 involves the ability to control anautomatic wheelchair. They don’t have the ability to sit and standwithout any support. Also, they have trouble keeping their head andneck straight.
What are the symptoms of Cerebral Palsy?
- The muscle tone does not remain constant. Muscles are eithertoo stiff or too floppy.
- Usually, spasticity is experienced due to stiff muscles andexaggerated reflexes.
- Usually, rigidity is experienced due to stiff muscles withnormal reflexes.
- Ataxia, which is a lack of balance and muscle coordination, iscommon.
- Tremors or involuntary movements are common.
- Slow, writhing movements or rapid and jerky movements.
- Delay in motor skills milestone like rolling up, crawling,walk, and sitting up.
- Efficient with only one side of the body only.
- Excessive drooling or problems with swallowing
- Difficulty with sucking or eating
- Delays in speech development or difficulty speaking
Difficulty in learning new skills
Difficulty with fine motor skills, such as buttoning clothes orpicking up utensils
Frequent or rare seizures
Upper cervical chiropractic improves the quality oflife!
Chiropractic intervention did a huge break-through in themanagement and care of patients of cerebral palsy. Irrespective oftype and classification chiropractic experts deal with the providedconditions in the most efficient and safest way.
In a comfortable setting, the family enlightens the chiropracticexpert with all essential details. Depending upon the condition ofthe patient a session of 30-60 minutes is conducted where somealignments are corrected.
The chiropractic strategy consists of Activator or Gonsteadtechnique which involves spine adjustments, massages, improvementof electrical stimulation, traction, use of heat and coldapplications, adjustment of joint dysfunctions, and myofascialrelease.