Latest Innovative Therapies That Could Transform Cerebral Palsy Treatment
We often hear about the many mental and physical benefits of regular exercise.
Less than one-third of adults with cerebral palsy receive appropriate physical therapy even though it’s common for them to experience severe pain and are at greater risk of developing secondary health conditions.
Exercise and physical therapy play a key role in treating people with cerebral palsy by improving their range of motion, circulation, helping maintain a healthy weight, and strengthening their musculoskeletal system. But it is just one of a range of therapies that can make a big difference to people with cerebral palsy. Several emerging treatments are changing how people live with cerebral palsy.
One Million Adults With CP
There are at least one million adults with cerebral palsy in the US and thanks to improved diagnosis, medical advances, and prolonged life expectancy that number is rising. Cerebral palsy (CP) is a neurological condition typically caused by damage to the brain that causes various disabilities, ranging from mild to severe.
Someone with CP may experience joint problems, spinal deformities, movement, walking difficulties, epilepsy, difficulties with learning, speech, hearing, and vision. Treating CP is complex, and affects each person differently. It can often involve a combination of physical therapy, orthotics, assisted devices and technologies, drug therapy, and surgery.
New Medical Device To Treat Spasticity
Spasticity is a fairly common symptom of CP, characterized by stiff muscles that are difficult for the individual to control. A new device is currently undergoing clinical trials to offer a non-invasive way to control spastic muscles.
The device stimulates particular nerve circuits in the spine, suppressing those nerves that cause the muscles to become spastic. It’s hoped that this new device will eventually replace other more invasive and risky spasticity therapies that can cause side effects.
Deep Brain Stimulation To Treat Dystonia
One of the newest treatments for cerebral palsy is called deep brain stimulation; it is an emerging treatment that can help people with cerebral palsy experiencing dystonia, an involuntary repetitive and twisting movement. Deep brain stimulation involves surgically inserting electrodes in the brain.
These electrodes will then send electrical impulses to specific areas of the brain linked to dystonia and other related movements. Stimulating the part of the brain called the globus pallidus internus is proven to help those with cerebral palsy.
Still, there are significant risks associated with the surgery, especially in terms of children.
Complementary Therapies For CP
There are a variety of complementary therapies that can help relieve some of the common symptoms of CP. Biological-based therapies use natural substances such as Echinacea and fish oil which contain omega 3 to improve cognitive functions like memory and learning and promote bone and joint health.
Energy therapies manipulate energy fields using light therapy, magnet therapy, healing touch, and Reiki to channel energy fields to promote health and wellbeing.
Meanwhile, manipulative and body-based therapies use force through spinal manipulation and massage therapy to manipulate soft tissues, joints, bones, lymphatic and circulatory systems beyond their passive range of motion.
While there is no cure for cerebral palsy, there are existing and emerging therapies and treatments that hope to improve the quality of life for those people living with the condition and their families.
Last Updated on October 28, 2021