Cerebral Palsy Treatment
Learning that your child has cerebral palsy can be a heartbreaking discovery and leave you feeling helpless and unable to provide the comfort and care that your child may require for a chance at leading a normal life.
Cerebral palsy is a serious brain injury, and it is not curable. It will affect the person's ability to live their daily life. It will affect movement, cause muscle stiffness and result in generally abnormal development.
Health professionals and medical specialists can help manage the symptoms and risk factors, but extensive therapy and treatment is also necessary for cerebral palsy patients.
There are many forms of cerebral palsy treatment that may help your child overcome and cope with his or her disabilities and, in time, help him or her lead a semi-normal life.
Early Diagnosis Is Crucial
Treatment is most effective when cerebral palsy is detected in early stages as it allows physicians to create a plan not only to address symptoms but also to prevent the worsening of conditions associated with the diagnosis and to prevent additional complications.
For all but the most severe cases, the child's life can be greatly improved by using one or more of a number of common treatments for the condition. Diagnosing cerebral palsy early in the child's life allows for more effective early intervention.
How Cerebral Palsy Treatment Works
Every child who has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy will exhibit unique symptoms and require a treatment plan specifically designed to address his or her disabilities.
Treatment will undoubtedly require the work of multiple specialists— each of whom can help your child in his or her own area of expertise.
Teams are led by a doctor who is tasked with the formation of the team, communication between its members and making sure that every team member is on the same page and communicating concerns and providing updates with the team leader.
Below are some of the types of professionals and medical specialists who may help. Also make sure to get professional medical advice before you do anything or start a course of treatment.
Cerebral Palsy Treatment Options
Here are some forms of potential treatment that may be a part of the plan for a child with medical problems because of cerebral palsy:
- Physical therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Massage therapy
- Music therapy
- Speech therapy
- Recreational therapy
A treatment plan will usually have more than one form of these therapies. The type of therapy chosen depends on the form of the child's condition and where they need help. For example, they may be dealing with chronic pain that needs management.
Physical Therapy for Spastic Cerebral Palsy
The most common type of the disease is spastic cerebral palsy. This is when there are stiff muscles that cause problems with the child's body movements. They may have muscle spasms or lack of muscle control. Physical therapy can help them improve muscle tone. It may also relieve pain that is associated with the condition.
The purpose of physical therapy as a treatment for cerebral palsy is twofold. The diminished motor function increases muscle atrophy and spasticity, which eventually results in the affected muscles becoming too weak to perform their intended purposes.
Many children will have movement difficulties. Physical therapy can aid children in reversing some of the damage that has already occurred and to prevent additional atrophy by exercising and strengthening those muscles. Physical therapy can help lengthen muscles and improve movement.
Speech Therapy for Cerebral Palsy
Many children with cerebral palsy suffer from varied degrees of speech impediments and speech pathologists are able to assist children in forming words and coping with their disabilities.
Speech therapists can help them overcome some of the effects. Speech and language therapy can strengthen the muscles used for speech. If the child cannot speak (as is often the case in severe cases), they could learn sign language during their language therapy protocol.
Not only does the stiffness associated with cerebral palsy impact muscle movement, but it can also cause constant physical pain. Massage therapy can help loosen some of the stiffness, reducing the pain and increasing the chance that physical therapy can work.
Massage therapy is meant to be complementary to other forms of treatment for cerebral palsy. This type of treatment involves the manipulation of muscles and connective tissues by a trained therapist. Reduced pain can help with a number of medical conditions and can help the child live a better daily life.
A cerebral palsy diagnosis doesn’t only affect a child, but it also takes a marked toll on the family as well. A social worker’s function is to make sure that the child and his or her family all have access to the resources they need to be able to cope with the stress that accompanies living with cerebral palsy or caring for a loved one with this condition.
Examples of needs that a social worker may address are helping families enroll in educational programs or obtaining assistance through community programs. They take an interest in the child's development and help you go over therapy options.
The purpose of a psychologist is not only to address the emotional needs of your child but also to provide counseling services to the members of your family who may require assistance coping with the stress and emotional pain they are experiencing.
In addition, the psychologist may assess and diagnose destructive behaviors or patterns (neurological disorders) and provide a plan to address those concerns according to the child's ability.
It is not uncommon for children with cerebral palsy to undergo surgeries in order to repair or strengthen the skeletal and muscular systems when they become degraded as the condition progresses. This can result in joint problems. Some families need to visit orthopaedic surgeons.
An orthopedist works in tandem with the physical therapist and diagnoses and monitors the progression of muscular and skeletal programs. In case surgical intervention is deemed necessary; the orthopedist is responsible for overseeing the procedure. Surgery can help children with stiff muscles and movement issues.
These specialists are trained in the management of learning disabilities that may accompany cerebral palsy such as mental retardation, autism or ADHD. Many children with cerebral palsy will have learning or emotional disabilities that go along with their physical condition because there is some form of brain damage.
This specialist will spend time both forming and implementing a plan tailored to your child’s needs in order to help your child overcome his or her disadvantages in order to catch up to the educational level of his or her peers.
Because cerebral palsy patients must overcome physical, mental and psychological disadvantages, occupational therapists may be included in your child’s treatment plan to help him or her learn how to develop fine motor skills which can be used in school, as part of a career or in day to day tasks.
Occupational therapists allow your child to learn how to eventually obtain independence and a greater quality of life. With occupational therapy, the rehabilitation specialist will work with your child to improve their executive functioning during their course of occupational therapy.
Your child's doctor would act as the leader of your child’s treatment team and make revisions as needed to his or her treatment plan as new concerns arise. Children with cerebral palsy will have both a pediatrician and a neurologist on their care team who work together for the child
Pediatric neurologists or psychiatrists are often selected for this role as they have training that allows them to address needs specific to your child. The doctor would regularly check the child's well-being and discuss adjustments to the treatment plan as necessary.
Recreational therapy allows children to participate in the activities of their choice. It helps them design ways to be a part of life-enhancing social, physical and mental activities.
This can help stimulate the child's growth in many areas. This focuses on enjoyable activities, using leisure as palsy treatment.
Many parents consider alternative medicine as an important part of a treatment regimen. Don't let the name scare you away from considering this as a possible treatment because this type of treatment has definite benefits.
Some of these options include:
- Music therapy(this helps improve development and can be used to complement physical therapy - for example, some of the treatment for cerebral palsy can be set to music)
- Aquatic therapy
These are not meant to replace the more traditional therapy options. These are meant to accompany things like physical, occupational and behavioral therapy to enhance their effectiveness.
Other Therapy Needs to Manage Cerebral Palsy Symptoms
There are many other treatments for cerebral palsy that can affect your child's condition for which they may need help. These treatment options include help for:
- Bladder control
- Vision impairment
- Hearing (for which they may need hearing aids)
- Spinal cord issues (treatment to correct curvature)
- Salivary glands (swallowing problems and a possible feeding tube)
- Help with other everyday tasks
Adaptive equipment will accompany the therapy and make everyday tasks easier for children. This could help children with poor muscle tone or muscle tightness.
This could help in daily activities such as getting dressed or even driving a car as the child gets older. However, adaptive equipment can also be incredibly expensive.
In some cases, surgery may help the child overcome the brain damage and regain some mobility.
Orthopedic surgery will be performed on specific muscles and joints, but this only happens after the child has tried physical and occupational therapy. Surgery can give them a chance at a more normal life.
The Cost of Treatment for CP
The treatment of cerebral palsy requires the skill and attention of a team of specialists throughout the child’s entire lifetime. Medical bills can accumulate quickly when your child’s plan requires such attentive and ongoing care.
According tocerebralpalsy.org and the Centers for Disease Control, the lifetime cost of caring for a child with cerebral palsy is around $1 million, but this estimate does not include economic factors such as emergency room visits, wages lost due to the need for a family member to stay at home or psychological suffering. If your child requires surgery, the costs can grow even more.
Moreover, medical costs are growing at far higher than the rate of overall inflation (which is already high to begin with). Given the recent increase in inflation, you must have an attorney who knows how to work with experts to evaluate your case, since you may need money for your child as they reach their adult years.
Filing a Lawsuit for the Costs of Treatments
This is why you need an attorney if your child was diagnosed with cerebral palsy after a birth injury. The costs can be prohibitive, and the responsible party should be made to pay.
As birth injury attorneys, we fight for you as you seek the financial compensation that you deserve for the harm done to your child. These types of therapy can be very expensive and far beyond the budget of the average family as you seek to treat symptoms of this difficult disease.
A lawsuit can provide for payment for treatments and treatment options for cerebral palsy for their immediate and future care-related needs.
Cerebral Palsy Lawyers Helping Clients
The Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC have represented families just like your own and helped our clients recover compensation to cover these burdensome expenses.
We understand that the last thing you need is to fight tooth and nail with insurance companies over coverage or to lack the assistance needed to give your child the care he or she deserves— especially if his or her injuries were the result of someone else’s negligence or reckless actions.
Our cerebral palsy attorneys can help you assess and explore your legal options and let you know more about your rights as a parent in a free consultation.
Our cerebral palsy lawyers will help come up with a value for your case that can guide your lawsuit or settlement negotiations with the responsible doctor and their insurance company. We understand that there are many future costs involved, and you need to work towards a settlement that will ensure that there is money to care for your child in the future.
Our cerebral palsy attorneys have experience handling birth injury cases involving children with an intellectual disabilities such as dyskinetic cerebral palsy, spastic cerebral palsy and other types of cerebral palsy.
Call Our Law Firm for a Free Consultation
Contact us today and we will happily schedule your free consultation at the time and location of your convenience with a birth injury attorney. You can call us at (888) 424-5757 or reach out to us online to set up a time to discuss your case. Speaking with an attorney is the first, and most necessary step, of the legal process.
As the last thing you need to worry about is an additional financial burden, you can rest assured that we will never require any form of payment for our services until we have successfully recovered damages on your behalf for your child's immediate and future cerebral palsy treatment.
If we fail to do so, our time and resources are free of charge.