Cerebral palsy physical therapy

Physical therapy is most important for the cerebral palsy patients to improve the mobility and posture, which has to begin soon after the diagnosis is made. A number of motion exercises done will stretch the muscle and help to prevent the muscles from weakening and getting rigidly fixed from contracture.

A physical therapy is with the aims to help the cerebral palsy affected child for achieving their maximum potential for physical freedom and correct mobility. Physical therapy consists of exercises, correct positioning of legs and instructions & training to use alternate ways of movement with the help of walkers, bracing and handling a wheelchair.

Generally, muscles and tendons will get stretched and grow in a proportionate rate as bones. However, Spasticity may prevent the muscles from stretching, and growth may not be proportionate with bone growth.

Muscles can become rigid and abnormal positioning could happen due to the cerebral palsy effect. Physical therapy with relevant exercise, sometimes in combination with special braces, will be good for the cerebral palsy patient to prevent the contracture by stretching spastic affected muscles. This is useful to improve the motor functions also.

Schooling is most important for cerebral palsy children and the family members along with the health professionals have to prepare the child for schooling. For preparing the cerebral palsy child for school, the focus of physical therapy gradually alters towards the activities associated with daily life and public communication.

The regular exercises are designed to improve the ability to sit, move independently, and do the tasks like writing, dressing, and using the bathroom.

Shortening of muscle tendons limits the movement of joints. Hence the help of braces, splints or casts may be required along with physical therapy to prevent contractures and improve the movements and functions of the hands. If the contractures are severe, the patient may require surgical method of treatment to lengthen the affected muscle tendons.

Spasticity, coordination, ataxia, muscle weakness, and scoliosis are major impairments, which affects the mobility and posture of a cerebral palsy patient. Physical therapists along with occupational therapists and family members will work with the patient, to improve the affected limbs to increase the ability to move, develop the motor patterns, and to maintain the posture.

Assistive technology or the use of adaptive equipments like wheelchairs, walkers, crutches, shoe inserts, and braces, are often required for preparing the cerebral palsy child for schooling.

The cerebral palsy patient must be able to walk, speak, write, and handle the things like feeding tools, sit without support, and use the bathroom before starting the schooling. For achieving these abilities a physical therapy will be conducted along with occupational therapy to prepare the child for schooling.

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