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What is Spastic Cerebral Palsy?

Spastic cerebral palsy is the most common type of cerebral palsy, affecting as much as 60 percent of all CP patients. It is caused by brain damage in the outer regions of the brain and can be acquired by anyone up to three years of age. While the brain damage itself does not get worse over time, the resulting impact on the body usually does.

Symptoms

In persons with spastic cerebral palsy, the conduction of signals from the brain through the nerves connected to the muscles is inhibited. In healthy individuals, muscles work in pairs. One muscle relaxes while another tenses up, allowing freedom of movement and normal functionality. Spastic cerebral palsy causes both pairs of muscles to contract at the same time, impairing movement and putting undue tension on the muscles. Over time, the constant contraction of the muscles can cause growth deformities.

Treatments

Various treatments are being researched for spastic cerebral palsy patients, but so far a cure has not been found. Researchers are studying the benefits of baclofen and botox injections, which are designed to weaken the tension of the muscles and alleviate symptoms. Although promising, these are relatively new procedures and it will take some time before their effectiveness can be proven conclusively. Baclofen is a particularly troubling treatment solution due to the possibility of overdose or the development of meningitis.

Physical therapy is usually the best treatment option for those with spastic cerebral palsy, especially when started at a young age and supervised by a trained physician. Physical therapy has demonstrated success at alleviating some symptoms of spastic cerebral palsy, although the success rate varies greatly depending upon the severity of the condition.

There is help for children with spastic cerebral palsy. A pediatrician should be consulted regularly so that the child’s condition can be monitored as he or she develops, particularly at a young age. For children with severe symptoms, a neurologist or neurosurgeon should be contacted to determine which treatment options are best at each developmental stage.

Conclusion

The goal of any treatment program is to inhibit the progression of the disorder and enable the growing child to have as much mobility and normal functionality as possible, both now and later in life. As advances in medical science continue to progress, it is likely that there will be better and more effective treatments which will help those suffering from spastic cerebral palsy.

 

About the Author

Peter Wendt is a writer and researcher living in Austin, Texas. For more information about cerebral palsy, Mr. Wendt recommends the CP Family Network. For more from Peter Wendt, visit www.ezinearticles.com.

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