Cerebral Palsy - Other Treatment
Physical therapy is
one of the most important treatments for
cerebral palsy (CP). It usually begins soon after
diagnosis and often continues throughout life. Some children with CP may start
physical therapy before being diagnosed, depending on their symptoms.
Special devices and equipment are needed for some people with CP to help
them with specific problems. For example:
- A child who develops uneven leg length may need
to wear special shoes with a higher sole and heel on the shorter
- Children who can't walk without assistance may
need to use canes, crutches, walkers, or wheelchairs.
therapy and special equipment may be used together, such as for
constraint-induced movement therapy, also called shaping. This approach
encourages a child to increase movements by presenting interesting activities
or objects and giving praise and rewards when a child makes attempts to use the
Occupational therapy helps teens and adults adapt to their
limitations and live as independently as possible.
Speech therapy helps control the mouth muscles. This therapy can be of great
benefit to children with speech or eating problems. Speech therapy often starts
before the child begins school and continues throughout the school
Nutritional counseling may help when dietary needs are
not met because of problems with eating certain foods.
Biofeedback may be useful as part of physical therapy
or on its own. During a biofeedback session, people with CP learn how to
control their affected muscles. Some people learn ways to reduce muscle tension
with this technique. Biofeedback does not help everyone with CP.
massage therapy and
hatha yoga are designed to help relax tense muscles,
strengthen muscles, and keep joints flexible. Hatha yoga breathing exercises
are sometimes used to try to prevent lung infections. More research is needed
to determine the health benefits of these therapies for people with CP.
Other treatments that vary by age or specific need include:
- Therapies to stimulate learning and sensory
development. Babies and young children may benefit from these stimulation or
neurodevelopmental therapies. Some of these therapies also help people of other
ages. These therapies cannot repair damaged parts of the brain. But they may be
able to stimulate undamaged parts of the brain that the person is not currently
- Behavioral therapy. This type of therapy helps some
school-age children with CP learn ways to communicate with others.
controversial therapies exist for CP, such as
electrical stimulation and special diets. If you are considering these types of
treatments, talk to your doctor about any related research or where to find