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Complementary Therapies for Cerebral Palsy

Compiled and edited by Dr Mir Atta Muhammad Talpur
Muscle and musculo-skeletal system of children and adults with Cerebral Palsy are almost invariably affected. Hydromassage and aquatic physiotherapy are important modalities to manage these problems.

Hydro-massage helps to 

  • prevent deterioration of muscle condition
  • Improve or maintain joint mobility
  • Possibly help overcome joint deformities or at least slow down the deterioration

Overview

Cerebral palsy (CP) consists of a group of non-progressive motor conditions that cause physical disability in human development, chiefly in the various areas of body movement.

Cause

Cerebral palsy is caused by damage to the motor control centres of the developing brain and can occur during pregnancy, during childbirth or after birth up to about age three. 

Effects on life

Cerebral Palsy may lead to limits in movement and posture cause activity limitation and are often accompanied by disturbances of sensation, depth perception and other sight-based perceptual problems, communication ability; impairments can also be found in cognition, and epilepsy is found in about one-third of cases. Cerebral Palsy, no matter what the type, is often accompanied by secondary musculoskeletal problems that arise as a result of the underlying etiology.

Improvements in neonatology, helped reduce the number of babies who develop cerebral palsy, and increased the survival of babies with very low birth weights (babies which are more likely to have cerebral palsy). However, a 2007 six-country survey found that there has been slight rise in the incidence of Cerebral Palsy in recent years.

Lifetime cost 

A 2003 study put the average lifetime cost for people with CP in the US at $921,000 per individual, including lost income.(reference)

By improving the quality of life through land and aquatic physiotherapy (balneotherapy / hydromassage) one may be able to lower some of these enormous costs in selected cases.

Cure and Prognosis

Of the many types and subtypes of Cerebral Palsy, none has a known cure. Usually, medical intervention is limited to the treatment and prevention of complications arising from CP's effects.

Complications

During the transition into adulthood, children with cerebral palsy may experience complications, some of which are outlined below:

Post-impairment syndrome

Most adults with cerebral palsy experience post-impairment syndrome. This condition is the result of a combination of factors caused by the stresses that cerebral palsy places on the body.
  • Fatigue (people with cerebral palsy use five times as much energy to walk or move about than able-bodied people)
  • Muscle weakness
  • Pain
  • Arthritis (caused by the increased pressure that the condition puts on the bones and joints)
  • Repetitive strain injury
If impairment is severe, they need assisted walking, such as a wheelchair or walking frame, etc.

How to overcome complications

  • Physiotherapy and 
  • Hydrotherapy (hydromassage / balneotherapy) helps overcome these muscle and joint problems. 
Home based hydromassage can be done using hydromassage system under supervision. Supervision is important to avoid any consequences arising from epilepsy that sometimes accompany the cerebral palsy patients.

These exercises are important to maintain normal muscle physiology or to prevent it from worsening. Hydromassage may also be helpful in maintaining, improving or preventing from deterioration the functioning of various organs, for instance: heart that is often poorly developed.

References and further readings

  • Muscle weakness, muscle spasticity and coordination problems can contribute to a number of complications either during childhood or later during adulthood: Contracture. Contracture is the shortening of muscle tissue due to severe tightening of the muscle (spasticity). Contracture can inhibit bone growth, cause bones to bend, and result in joint deformities, dislocation or partial dislocation. Malnutrition. Swallowing or feeding problems… Depression. Social isolation and the challenges of coping with disabilities can contribute to depression. Premature aging. People with cerebral palsy often experience medical conditions in middle age that are more commonly associated with older age. Such premature aging can result from significant stress on the body and poorly developed heart, lungs or other organs that may not function at a typical capacity. Osteoarthritis. Pressure on joints or abnormal alignment of joints from muscle spasticity may result in the early development of painful degenerative bone disease (osteoarthritis). – Cerebral Palsy Complications. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research.


Hydromassage System

Ozonomatic Hydromassage System can be used in the comfort of your home for hydromassage. For more details about the system, please visit melakastore.com

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