If you have a child with cerebral palsy, you want to ensure that he or she receives the best medical care possible. Cerebral palsy can significantly impact your child’s quality of life, and he or she may need assistance with multiple everyday tasks: walking, speaking, learning, etc.
In addition, your child may battle painful symptoms that make living with cerebral palsy very difficult. Seeking the best medical treatments for cerebral palsy can help your child mitigate his or her symptoms and increase his or her quality of life.
Your Child Will Need a Team of Professionals
When you have a child with cerebral palsy, you will need to have a long-term care team on your side. The professionals who make up your care team will vary based on your child’s needs and symptoms. Common professionals who may be on your child’s medical care team may include:
- Pediatricians or physiatrists
- Pediatric neurologists
- Physical, occupational, and recreation therapists
- Mental health specialists
- Developmental therapists
- Speech-language pathologists
- Orthopedic surgeons
- Social workers
- Special education teachers
Anticholinergics Help with Uncontrolled Body Movements
One of the most common symptoms of cerebral palsy is uncontrollable movements such as muscle stiffness, spasms, drooling, and tremors. To combat your child’s uncontrollable movements, your doctor may prescribe this class of drugs for temporary use. These drugs work by blocking the neurotransmitter responsible for muscle movement and muscle flexing. Common anticholinergic medications include Kemadrin, Robinul, and Sinemet.
Surgery can Alleviate Severe Symptoms
If your child has especially severe cerebral palsy, he or she may need to undergo surgery to relieve his or her symptoms. For example, your child may suffer from especially stiff, contracted muscles, and may need to undergo surgery to lighten these symptoms. In addition, your child’s surgeon can also readjust arms and legs into more comfortable positions, cut nerves to reduce spastic movements, or realign a curved spine. Your child’s surgeon may also be able to correct symptoms that medications could not treat.
Anticonvulsant Medications Control Seizures
Another common symptom of cerebral palsy is uncontrollable seizures, which can be a terrifying and traumatic occurrence for both your child and your family. Doctors prescribe anticonvulsants to reduce the occurrence of these seizures. Your doctor will prescribe this medication to your child based on the type of seizure he or she experiences, and the doctor may change the medication or dosage based on how your child reacts. Common anticonvulsant medications include Topamax, Zonegran, Trileptal, and Neurontin.
Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Assist With Mobility
Children with cerebral palsy have severe issues with mobility. Within the first few years of his or her life, your child should begin physical therapy to help maintain or improve balance, movement, and muscle strength. Your child will learn valuable movement skills that he or she may have trouble with, such as walking, sitting, or using a wheelchair. Your doctor may recommend that your child undertake one of the following types of therapy in addition to physical therapy:
- Speech and language therapy to help your child speak clearly, use communication devices or sign language, and stop swallowing problems
- Occupational therapy to help your child learn to manage everyday activities, such as attending school or dressing him or herself
- Recreational therapy to help enrich your child’s life, such as engaging in cultural activities, sports, or art programs
Antispastic Medications Relax the Muscles
Children with cerebral palsy have limited control over their muscle tone. Your child may have contracted, overacted, or stiff muscles that can cause pain and tremors, as well as limit mobility. Your doctor may prescribe antispastic medications, or muscle relaxers, to help with these symptoms. Your doctor will prescribe the muscle relaxers based on your child’s case and the symptoms he or she is experiencing. Common types of antispastic medications include Valium, Botox, Dantrolene, and Cyclobenzadrine.
Mobility Equipment Allows Your Child to Have a Normal Life
If you want your child to be able to move and perform daily activities on his or her own, you can obtain mobility equipment and assistive devices to help make these tasks easier. You can purchase communication devices if your child has trouble speaking. You can invest in braces, casts, and splints to help your child improve his or her movement and balance. You can use Velcro-fastened clothes and shoes to help your child dress him or herself. In addition, wheelchairs, scooters, rolling walkers, and crutches can help your child move around freely.
Anti-Inflammatory Medications Reduce Pain
Your child may also experience severe, inflammatory episodes of pain that can last for an hour or more. To reduce this pain, your doctor may prescribe pain control and anti-inflammatory medications. You can receive over the counter drugs or have pain medication prescribed to your child. Common types of pain control medications include steroids, aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and corticosteroids.
While these medical treatments for cerebral palsy are effective in bettering your child’s quality of life, they can be very expensive to obtain. However, you can claim compensation for your child’s past and future cerebral palsy treatments through a birth injury lawsuit. Contact Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC today to receive your free case evaluation and learn more about your legal options.