Living With Spastic Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy

Types of Cerebral Palsy

mixed photos of boy with cerebral palsy from infancy to teen years and his family, in foreground is hand holding cell phone displaying most recent photo

Spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy refers to a specific form of cerebral palsy that causes difficulty in controlling arm and leg movements. People who suffer from this condition won’t have paralyzed muscles, but they’ll experience jerky movements that result from stiffness in the four limbs.

While its name suggests that it affects the four limbs of the body, spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy may lead to movement disorders anywhere in the body. Since it causes muscle tightness and strain, it could prevent the core of the body and facial muscles from performing their normal functions. This makes it the most debilitating type of spastic cerebral palsy.

Causes of Spastic Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy

Generally, spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy results from brain damage that occurs before, during, or shortly after birth. From the 26th to 34th week of pregnancy, the white matter of a baby’s brain is especially vulnerable to damage. White matter refers to areas of the brain that send signals to the rest of the body. Damage to these areas, such as lesions and holes, may have an impact on the entire body and lead to spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy.

Many factors can increase the risk of spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy in children, including:

  • Premature birth
  • Maternal infections or health problems
  • Exposure to toxins
  • Fetal strokes
  • Medical negligence

Symptoms of Spastic Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy

Similar to general cerebral palsy, spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy becomes noticeable very early in life. Babies who are suffering from the condition may start showing symptoms from three months to two years old. Common spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy symptoms include:

  • Joints that can’t stretch or move
  • Muscles that contract and release quickly
  • Muscle tremors
  • Muscle tightness and spasticity
  • Difficulty walking
  • Scissoring limbs
  • Seizures
  • Speech impediments
  • Cognitive disorders

Complications Related to Spastic Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy

Due to its ability to affect the entire body, spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy could contribute to an increased risk of limb deformity. Spastic muscles that result from the condition may continuously pull on the joints and bones, which can lead to a variety of issues over time if not properly treated. Compared to other cerebral palsy patients, people who are suffering from spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy are more likely to develop scoliosis and other spinal problems.

Spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy may also potentially cause deformities in the lower limbs and ankles. One example of these deformities is ankle equinus, a condition where an ankle experiences reduced flexion. Additionally, patients have a higher chance of developing joint contractures, which permanently shortens the muscles around a joint. Spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy and seizure disorder have also been linked with each other because this form of cerebral palsy affects a larger part of the brain.

Treatment Options for Spastic Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy

Treatment methods for spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy may vary from one case to another, depending on the severity of the condition. Some of the traditional methods used to treat this form of cerebral palsy include:

  • Physical therapy: Physical therapy is almost always the first-line treatment for people with spastic cerebral palsy. It typically includes stretching, flexibility exercises, and range-of-motion activities that can help patients become more independent.
  • Occupational therapy: Occupational therapy mostly focuses on strengthening and improving the coordination of the hands and fingers. After undergoing this type of therapy, children with spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy may see improvement in their ability to perform daily tasks and live a normal life.
  • Speech therapy: Some spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy patients may not be able to properly coordinate their facial and tongue muscles, resulting in difficulty speaking and swallowing. Speech therapy can help them eat safely and achieve better oral articulation and coordination.
  • Medication: Doctors may prescribe a variety of medications to manage spastic cerebral palsy. They usually give their patients muscle relaxants to control spasticity and medications for treating secondary conditions of cerebral palsy, such as gastric reflux, constipation, and epilepsy.
  • Surgery: Surgery is often the last resort for treating spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy. It’s an effective way to correct problems such as dislocated joints, muscle stiffness, shortened muscles, and spinal deformities.

Spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy is a lifelong condition that may place a huge emotional and financial burden on patients and their families. If you think that medical negligence could be the reason why your child or loved one is suffering from this condition, you may have the right to claim compensation. With an impressive track record of winning medical malpractice cases, the Cerebral Palsy Family Lawyers at Janet, Janet, and Suggs, LLC can help you uncover the truth and seek the compensation you may deserve. Contact us today to take the first step toward justice.



Claire Surles, RN
Reviewed by:
Claire Surles, RN
Registered Nurse

Claire comes to JJS after a 10-year career as a labor and delivery nurse. She dedicated her hospital efforts to advocating for families, providing the safest birthing environment possible as Newborn Admission Nurse at UMMC St. Joseph Medical Center in Towson, Maryland. Her passion for helping those who experienced losses at any stage of gestation led to her appointment as Coordinator of the hospital’s ROOTS perinatal loss program. READ FULL BIO

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