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The Best Therapies for Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy affects muscle function and movement in every child who has the disorder. Otherwise, each child’s abilities and challenges are different. As one example, some children can walk while others need assistance. 

The best therapy for cerebral palsy starts as early as possible and is based on each child’s needs. The expert team at THINK Neurology for Kids in The Woodlands, Katy, and Cypress, Texas, honors each child and carefully creates comprehensive treatment plans designed to alleviate their symptoms and improve their ability to function and enjoy daily life.

Early signs of cerebral palsy

Recognizing the early signs of cerebral palsy allows us to start treatment as soon as possible. The specific signs vary in each child, but children with cerebral palsy often exhibit one or more of the following general symptoms:

Children with cerebral palsy tend to favor one side of their body, typically showing a strong preference for using one hand over the other.

The brain abnormalities that cause cerebral palsy may also lead to neurological problems such as seizures, difficulty seeing or hearing, and intellectual disabilities.

Medications to manage muscle problems

The proper medication is essential for managing your child’s muscle symptoms and preventing complications such as muscle contractures.

We choose from many different medications that fall into the following categories:

We may also prescribe anti-inflammatory medications to relieve pain that develops due to muscle contractions and other problems associated with cerebral palsy, such as hip dislocation.

Rehabilitative therapies

Therapies that help your child with daily functioning are also key components of their treatment plan. Depending on your child’s personal challenges and skill level, we may recommend therapies such as:

Physical therapy

Physical therapy uses many techniques to improve muscle strength and movement, promote muscle relaxation, improve balance, and boost mobility. In infants and toddlers, physical therapy can help with head and trunk control and developmental steps such as rolling and sitting up.

Medical equipment

Your child may need supportive equipment such as braces, splints, or a wheelchair.

Occupational therapy

Occupational therapists help your child learn to perform everyday activities like putting on clothes and eating.

Speech and language therapy

Poor muscle control and muscle weakness may affect your child’s ability to talk. Speech and language therapy helps them speak or teaches them to use options such as sign language and communication devices.

Recreational therapy

Your child may benefit from adaptive activities. Many schools offer adaptive physical education. However, you may also find options in the community such as therapeutic horseback riding.

Mental health therapy

As they get older, children with cerebral palsy are vulnerable to developing mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety. Counseling and medications can help them overcome these challenges.

Surgical intervention for cerebral palsy

Surgical intervention includes several potential procedures that can help treat spasticity. We may recommend a procedure to insert an intrathecal baclofen pump. The pump quickly relieves spasticity by delivering medication directly to the spinal cord.  

Some children may benefit from selective dorsal rhizotomy, which is spinal surgery to improve communication between nerves to reduce spasticity. We may also recommend orthopedic surgery to alleviate muscle tightness or correct bone abnormalities that develop due to spasticity.

If your child needs support for cerebral palsy, call the THINK Neurology for Kids office nearest you or request an appointment online today. 

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