Cerebral palsy is a debilitating disease, which causes motor problems and physical disabilities in many of its patients. It is a very difficult disease to live with as patients have difficulty perceiving the world like others would. They have issues with depth perception; communication impairments and many other brain to body connections are distorted. Cerebral palsy is said to be congenital, forming at birth or at a very young age. Many of the individuals living with cerebral palsy are young children who have a hard time communicating with others not only because of their disease but also because of their age.
Chronic Pain in Cerebral Palsy Patients
One issue that tends to be overlooked is the pain that is felt by cerebral palsy patients. Many children suffering from cerebral palsy are also suffering from chronic pain most often caused by hip dislocation and dystonia. Dystonia is a disorder in which the individual suffers from abnormal muscle contractions, which can cause twisting of the limbs and repetitive movements.
Much of this pain goes unnoticed and untreated, as children suffering from cerebral palsy have a difficult time expressing themselves. As many of the individuals with cerebral palsy are quite young, sometimes they themselves will not even be able to describe what they are feeling or express to others what they need to relieve themselves of that feeling.
In a study published in the medical journal, Pediatrics, it was stated that more than 25 percent of the younger population of cerebral palsy patients are suffering from chronic pain. This chronic pain further affects their ability to move around and perform simple daily activities, which have already been impaired because of the cerebral palsy.
Communication is key to treating the child as a whole
The study discovered who was suffering pain through the use of questionnaires. This is an important way of communication for those with cerebral palsy. If a system is devised, where these individuals can express their feelings, caregivers and physicians will have a better understanding of what pain they are feeling and how often. These patients can then be given the adequate care and medication required to control the pain.
Sometimes more focus is put on trying to find ways to cure the person with the disease. However, with cerebral palsy patients, it is important to find ways to help them live with the disease and find ways to make their life easier. Advances in medical technology are enabling many young adults and children to improve their quality of life. For those who are suffering from chronic pain as well, caregivers and medical practitioners must take steps towards helping them relieve this pain.
Cerebral palsy is already a difficult disease to live with and with the additional risk of chronic pain, it can completely alter a person’s life. Chronic pain can be controlled to some extent; whatever can be done to relieve individuals with cerebral palsy of their pain and suffering is greatly needed. Enhancing the quality of life of the children and young adults living with cerebral palsy is an important step in battling this disease.