What is Cerebral Palsy?
Cerebral palsy is the term for a number of lifelong neurological conditions. These conditions affect movement and co-ordination and are caused by a problem with the brain which occurs before, during or soon after birth. Symptoms aren’t usually obvious in the first year after birth and may only become apparent as a child misses developmental milestones such as sitting up and walking.
The symptoms of cerebral palsy include appearing too stiff or too floppy; weak arms or leg; fidgety, jerky or clumsy movements; random, uncontrolled movements; walking on tiptoes; and other problems such as issues with swallowing or learning disabilities. The severity of an individual’s symptoms will vary from person to person, with some only having minor issues, while others may be severely disabled.
Cerebral Palsy can be caused by a number of different factors.
These factors can occur before, during or shortly after birth. These include:
- Reduced oxygen supply to the brain
- A bleed within the brain
- A premature or difficult birth process
- The mother catching an infection during pregnancy
- A severe traumatic brain injury
- Changes in genes affecting the development of the brain.
The conditions covered by the term Cerebral Palsy include:
Spastic Cerebral Palsy – affecting muscle stiffness and weakness.
Athetoid Cerebral Palsy – affecting muscle tone, leading to uncontrolled spasms.
Ataxic Cerebral Palsy – affecting balance and coordination.
As there is no cure for cerebral palsy, there is a focus on treatments that maximise the individual’s ability to lead an independent lifestyle. These treatments include:
Physiotherapy – exercise and stretching are common ways to support physical ability, encouraging independence and optimal functioning for the person.
Speech therapy – supports with speech, communication and swallowing.
Occupational therapy – identifies ways in which an individual may struggle with everyday tasks, and suggests ways to make these easier for them.
Medication – helps reduce muscle stiffness and spasms, amongst other things.
Surgery – can help to treat movement and growth problems.
At Flex Health, our team of experienced rehabilitators will work closely with you to help manage your symptoms and maximise your independence. Following a comprehensive assessment of your needs, aims and goals, we will ensure that you have received a patient-centred treatment plan which takes your wishes for rehabilitation into account. As your needs change, we will work closely with you, your family and your carers to ensure that we are supporting you in the best way.
Using our consistent approach to physiotherapy, we will attempt to reduce the impact that your condition has on your quality of life. Functional movement will take priority, with the goal being to allow you to be as independent as possible without relying on others for tasks that are important to your day-to-day life. Our team will look to use a combination of physical and manual therapies which may reduce involuntary spasms and help with muscle stiffness. The state-of-the-art equipment that we have at our facility will offer further benefits such as increased muscle tone better balance and coordination.
Our aim is to keep you as active as possible while promoting a healthy lifestyle and positive treatment. With our support, time and expertise, we will try to make your cerebral palsy symptoms more manageable, thus improving your overall quality of life.
Where will my treatment take place?
Your treatment can take place both in your home and at our facility. On-site at Flex Health you will have access to the latest rehabilitation technology however, we are also able to bring some of that equipment to you.
What will my treatment involve?
Your treatment will involve a combination of manual therapy such as massage and physical therapy. This could mean using some of our equipment or practising functional movements.
What equipment will I be using?
At our facility, you will have access to the latest rehabilitation technology. This includes:
FES cycle •
Anti-gravity treadmill •
Vertimax machine •
Exercise-assisted hoist •
Do I need a referral?
At Flex Health, we will take referrals from doctors and self-referrals, so if you are interested in finding out more about how we might be able to support you then please call us on 01482 966 006.