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Cerebral Palsy - Understanding a Serious Disorder

Cerebral Palsy - Understanding a Serious Disorder By Joseph Devine



Cerebral palsy is a disorder which impairs a person's ability to control and utilize his or her muscles.

 Cerebral palsy is a disorder which impairs a person's ability to control and utilize his or her muscles. Although its symptoms are expressed through abnormal muscle movements, cerebral palsy is not caused by problems with the muscles themselves; rather, it is a neurological disorder caused by damage to regions of the brain devoted to motor skills.

Cerebral palsy is a lifetime disorder. Most of those who have cerebral palsy are born with it, and symptoms are usually evident in children by the time they are three years old. These symptoms include difficulty walking, abnormal movement while walking, lack of muscle coordination, or excessively tight muscles. Medical and scientific research shows that children may also develop cerebral palsy as the result of brain damage or injuries sustained during early infancy. Known causes include bacterial meningitis (an infection of the brain), viral encephalitis, or physical injuries received during a fall, an accident, or as the result of abuse.

There is no cure for cerebral palsy. People who have it will be affected by it their entire lives. The good news is that proper treatment and therapy can significantly reduce the negative impact that cerebral palsy can have on a person's life. Time is a key factor in effective treatment - the earlier children start therapy, the more likely they will reap significant benefits from it. Some treatments for cerebral palsy are: physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, corrective surgery, mobility aids (wheelchairs, walkers, etc.), and communication aids.

Cerebral palsy does not affect all patients equally. Some may be seriously disabled even with extensive therapy, while others may suffer only minor difficulties and are able to live out their adult lives in a fairly normal manner.

A good way to understand cerebral palsy is by looking at the way it affects a person's muscle control.

The most common form of cerebral palsy, known as spastic cerebral palsy, inhibits a person's ability to relax or loosen muscles smoothly. As a result, they display the characteristic stiff, jerky movements from which this type of cerebral palsy derives its name.

Ataxic cerebral palsy is a type of cerebral palsy which is almost exactly opposite from the spastic type. People who suffer from ataxic CB have extremely low muscle tone and lack coordination, particularly in the area of fine motor skills. They will often appear shaky or unsteady when moving and have problems with keeping still or maintaining their balance.

Several other types of cerebral palsy exist as combinations of spastic and ataxic characteristics. These other types, such as athetoid and mixed cerebral palsy, are characterized by frequent, involuntary movements in their upper body and face, as well as an inability to hold on to small objects.


Article Provided by Birth Injury Lawyers