Cerebral Palsy Causes and Treatments

Cerebral Palsy is a neurological disability that impacts mobility, muscle tone, and posture. The words “cerebral” and “palsy” signify inability or paralysis. Cerebral palsy is caused by a sort of brain injury that occurs during a traumatic or difficult birth. When the baby’s brain doesn’t get enough oxygen at birth, brain cells start dying.

Cerebral palsy severity and physical symptoms vary greatly between individuals. Mild to severe cerebral palsy causes a small limp or clumsy motion. Severe cerebral palsy can leave a youngster crippled and wheelchair-bound. 

Cerebral palsy is not a progressive disorder. However, the brain damage that causes cerebral palsy is irreversible, therefore there is no cure or effective treatment. Cerebral palsy can cause seizures, cognitive impairment, visual, hearing, and speech difficulties, as well as affect physical movement. 

What Causes Cerebral Palsy?

The cause of cerebral palsy is the same. Damage or developmental problems to the brain areas that control movement and coordination cause cerebral palsy. The affliction can occur late in pregnancy, during labor and delivery, or immediately after birth. Causes for cerebral palsy include:  

  • Lack of Oxygen. One of the primary causes of cerebral palsy is oxygen deprivation. The baby’s brain is particularly sensitive during pregnancy and birth. The brain needs constant oxygen and blood flow. Damage to brain cells can occur in minutes if blood and oxygen circulation to the baby’s brain is halted. Many obstetrical difficulties and events during pregnancy and childbirth might affect the baby’s oxygen supply. 
  • Malaria in Women. Infantile cerebral palsy can be caused by maternal infections during pregnancy, labor, and delivery. Recent research shows that viral and parasite diseases, such as rubella and CMV, can harm a baby’s growing brain and cause cerebral palsy. Infections of the placental membranes and amniotic fluids can harm the baby’s brain cells, causing cerebral palsy. 
  • Premature Birth. Premature newborns are 30 times more likely than full-term babies to be diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Premature neonates often develop cerebral palsy due to brain hemorrhages and periventricular leukomalacia (PVL). Both brain bleeds and PVL produce cerebral palsy-like brain damage. 
  • Delays in C-Sections. When difficulties arise during labor and delivery, a prompt emergency c-section can save the baby’s life. Doctors make mistakes in the birth room, and emergency c-sections aren’t always performed when they should. A slight delay in a c-section might cause brain damage and cerebral disability in the infant. This is probably the most common cause of birth damage resulting in cerebral palsy lawsuits. Contact a cerebral palsy lawyer for more info.
  • External head trauma during childbirth can cause brain damage that results in cerebral palsy. It is common for a baby to get trapped or have trouble moving through the birth canal. When this happens, doctors employ obstetrical forceps or vacuum extractors to release the baby and help deliver it. These gadgets are difficult to use since they can easily generate excessive force on the baby’s head and internal injury. 
  • Damage to the developing brain’s motor control regions causes cerebral palsy. Sadly, once damaged, these brain areas will never fully recover and return to normal. Cerebral palsy is not a progressive disorder. But it’s permanent. So treatment for cerebral palsy focuses on symptom control and improving quality of life. Therapy, medication, and even surgery are used to treat cerebral palsy. 

What Treatments Exist for Cerebral Palsy?

Any cerebral palsy treatment regimen should include regular physical therapy. Physical treatment can assist cerebral palsy kids overcome and control their body motor function. All varieties of cerebral palsy benefit from physical treatment. These might include: 

  • Occupational treatment. Unlike physical therapy, occupational therapy addresses fine motor skills (e.g., gripping, writing, using scissors). Occupational therapy plans are usually personalized to the individual’s needs and can be highly effective for children with severe cerebral palsy who struggle with physical independence. 
  • Speech therapy. While not all children with cerebral palsy have speech impairments, speech therapy is an important part of their treatment strategy. Speech therapy helps build abilities like eating and swallowing as well as language and oral communication skills. 
  • Medication. Medications are frequently used to treat some of the more severe symptoms of cerebral palsy. Medications have successfully reduced seizures, muscle stiffness, and involuntary movements. 

There are several surgical alternatives for children with various forms of cerebral palsy. Most of these surgeries are for kids with spastic cerebral palsy. This condition causes increased muscular tone and rigidity. Surgically extending muscles and tendons can help reduce the effects of high muscular tone. For a child with spastic cerebral palsy who walks on his toes, tendons can be surgically lengthened to allow normal walking.