Physical therapy is aimed at promoting the motor and developmental skills of a child with cerebral palsy. The child’s parent or caregiver should be taught the exercises or activities that are necessary to help the child reach his or her full potential and improve function.
Physical Therapy for Cerebral Palsy: Techniques and Effects
Daily range-of-motion (ROM) exercises are important to prevent or delay contractures that are caused by spasticity. Additionally, daily ROM exercises help maintain the mobility of joints and soft tissues. Stretching exercises are performed to increase range of motion. Progressive resistance exercises should be taught in order to increase strength. The use of age-appropriate play and of adaptive toys and games based on the desired exercises are important in order to make the therapy fun and get the child’s full cooperation. Strengthening knee extensor muscles helps to improve crouching and stride length. Postural and motor control training is important and should follow the developmental sequence of normal children; head and neck control should be achieved, if possible, before advancing to lower body (trunk) control.
The use of Kinesio taping (elastic therapeutic tape) can help educate muscles for stretching and strengthening, and aquatic therapy can also be beneficial for strengthening, as can electrical stimulation. Vibration and short-term use of heat and cold over the child’s tendons may help to decrease spasticity. These treatments, however, only decrease spasticity briefly and should be used in conjunction with ROM and stretching exercises.
Electrical stimulation of weakened muscles is usually tolerated well in older children and can help strengthen muscles and maintain muscle size. In a child with weak dorsiflexors (muscles in the lower leg that act on the foot) that are causing foot drop or tripping, for example, electrical stimulation to the anterior tibialis (shin muscle) could be beneficial.
Physical therapy is crucial when a child has had surgery to help correct spasticity; it helps the child obtain maximum benefit from surgery such as selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR).
Detroit, Michigan Cerebral Palsy Lawyers and Attorneys
At Reiter & Walsh ABC Law Centers, our team of cerebral palsy attorneys has helped countless children with cerebral palsy and other disabilities from birth injuries obtain the funds necessary for critical therapeutic programs. We understand how expensive physical therapy regimens can be for families, but we also know how essential therapeutic programs are for children with CP. That’s why our Detroit, Michigan birth injury attorneys fight tirelessly for their clients.
If your loved one was diagnosed with cerebral palsy or another permanent disability from a preventable birth injury, your family may be entitled to compensation from a medical malpractice case. Our legal team will review your birth injury case for free, answer your legal questions, and inform you of your legal options. Should we take your case, you will not be charged until we win or settle in your favor. Please contact our Detroit, Michigan cerebral palsy attorneys in any of the following ways:
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