Cerebral Palsy Treatments and Therapies
Cerebral Palsy is a highly complex and variable neurological disorder that affects different people in different ways. As such, treatment for cerebral palsy should be customized to the individual patient in order to best address his or her needs. To develop the most comprehensive and effective treatment plan for a child’s cerebral palsy, it is best to have a multidiscliplinary team of healthcare providers collaborating with one another to address the child’s specific symptoms and associated complications. These medical professionals can work in unison, providing treatments and therapies that improve outcomes and help children with cerebral palsy to live their best lives.
Is There a Cure for Cerebral Palsy?
Unfortunately, advancements in modern medicine have yet to result in a cure for cerebral palsy. Although cerebral palsy is a permanent neurological condition that cannot effectively be “cured” at this time, treatment can help those with cerebral palsy improve their quality of life. There are many treatments available to alleviate the symptoms of individuals living with cerebral palsy. These therapies and treatment options can have a significant impact on the physical, mental, and emotional challenges that children with CP face.
Medical Professionals who Help with Treating Cerebral Palsy
A caregiver providing for a child diagnosed with cerebral palsy can consult with a number of medical professionals to develop a comprehensive treatment plan. The first such medical professional will likely be the child’s pediatrician, who is often responsible for overseeing the child’s overall course of treatment. The pediatrician may refer the child and caregiver to a pediatric neurologist—a doctor trained to treat children with brain and nervous system disorders. They may also be referred to a pediatric orthopedic surgeon—a doctor trained to address bone and muscle disorders.
These doctors will likely enlist the help of physical and occupational therapists to assist the patient suffering from cerebral palsy to improve her or his strength, walking, speech, language, and other basic motor skills, up to and including swallowing skills. Speech-language pathologists can help the patient overcome speech disorders and further assist with swallowing and language difficulties caused by cerebral palsy.
Developmental therapists can assist children with developing social skills and interpersonal skills that may be negatively impacted by cerebral palsy. Recreation therapists can help those with cerebral palsy to participate in the arts or in sports, assisting with self-esteem and emotional well-being. Finally, mental health specialists can offer psychological or psychiatric therapy to help a person with cerebral palsy cope with their condition.
Medications to Treat Cerebral Palsy
A number of medications can reduce muscle tightness associated with cerebral palsy, improving functional abilities and reducing pain. All drugs may have side effects, so it is critically important for a caregiver or individual suffering from cerebral palsy to discuss the pros and cons of any medication prior to commencing a treatment regimen.
Medications may affect specific muscles—these are called “isolated” medications—or they may affect the whole body—i.e. “generalized” medications. For example, isolated botox injections can assist a patient with drooling, whereas generalized oral muscle relaxants may relieve stiff muscles throughout the body. These generalized medications can include valium, dantrium, and gablofen, among others, but again, any patient should consult with their doctor prior to settling on a particular pharmaceutical treatment plan.
Therapies used for Cerebral Palsy Treatment
Some of the therapy options that often aid in treatment of children with cerebral palsy include: physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy. As discussed above, physical therapists can help an individual with cerebral palsy to increase their strength, balance, motor skills, mobility, and flexibility, reducing the negative impacts of the disorder. Occupational therapists can help a child learn to use equipment—including walkers, canes, wheelchairs, and other seating systems—to perform daily activities. Speech therapists can assist with communication skills, and they can also introduce children with cerebral palsy to assistive devices such as computers and voice synthesizers.
Surgery for Cerebral Palsy
Surgery may reduce muscle rigidity or correct bone problems caused by cerebral palsy. Orthopedic surgery can correct bone or joint deformities, lengthen muscles or tendons, and otherwise relieve pain and improve mobility. Certain surgical procedures can intentionally sever nerves to reduce pain, but this is a last resort given that such procedures can lead to unwanted numbness.
Get Help Paying for Cerebral Palsy Treatment in New Jersey
If your child was unexpectedly diagnosed with cerebral palsy, you are likely overwhelmed by the incredible financial burden you now face. The costs of effective treatment for cerebral palsy can seem completely insurmountable and place you and your family in a horrible position. By consulting with an experienced Cerebral Palsy legal professional, you can find out more about the options you may have to obtain compensation. If medical malpractice was involved in your child’s case, whether it occurred during pregnancy, labor and delivery, or after birth with delayed diagnosis or negligent treatment, get the help you need today by calling (866) 708-8617. You can also submit an online form for a free case evaluation.
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