Cerebral palsy

Cerebral palsy is a neurological condition caused by brain damage and that affects motor movement balance  and posture. It is caused by abnormal development or damage to the immature brain most often before birth results a range of disabilities from mild to severe.

Some risk factors related to cerebral palsy like-

  • Preterm birth
  • Having multiple baby
  • Certain infection during pregnancy like rubella, syphilis, cytomegalovirus etc.
  • Environmental pollution like exposure to methyl mercury  during pregnancy
  • Inherited  genetic cause

Although cerebral palsy occurs due to injury of brain but the sign –symptoms is not same for all children. According to the sign- symptoms cerebral palsy can be   categorized into-

  1. Spastic Cerebral palsy
  2. Athetoid Cerebral palsy
  3. Ataxic Cerebral palsy
  4. Mixed Cerebral palsy

Spastic Cerebral palsy: The most common type cerebral palsy is spastic. Around 70 to 80 percent cases are spastic cerebral palsy. Spastic cerebral palsy is caused by damaged to the pyramidal tract. Spastic cerebral palsy is associated with-

  • Exaggerated or jerky movement
  • Muscle spasticity or hypertonia
  • Stiffness to the joint
  • Abnormal or Scissors gait
  • Awkward reflexes
  • Contractures(permanently tightened muscles or joints )

Athetoid Cerebral palsy: Athetoid or non-specific or extrapyramidal  cerebral palsy is a type of cerebral palsy, characterized by mixture of hypertonia or hypotonia .About 10 percent of children with cerebral palsy are diagnosed with Athetoid cerebral palsy. Athetoid cerebral palsy is caused by damaged to the brain’s basal ganglia or cerebellum.

Generally a baby with Athetoid cerebral palsy

 is characterized by-

  • Stiff or rigid body
  • Floppiness in the limbs
  • Imbalance or postural problem
  • Feeding difficulty

Ataxic Cerebral Palsy: Ataxic cerebral palsy is a rare type .The child with ataxic cerebral palsy faces problem with voluntary movement, balance and co- ordination.

Common symptoms of ataxic cerebral palsy-

  • Difficulty speaking
  • Problem with depth perception
  • Shakiness and tremors
  • Wide gait or spreading feet apart when walking
  • Dysdiadochokinesis (in inability to perform rapidly alternating movements)
  • Lethargic

Mixed cerebral palsy: sometimes it’s hard to locate the damage area of brain of a CP child .The baby show symptoms like multiple brain injury. The baby problems is mixture of spastic and Athetoid CP

According to affected parts of the body the cerebral palsy can be categorized –

  1. Monoplegia
  2. Diplegia
  3. Hemiplegia
  4. Quadriplegia


There is no known cure for cerebral palsy. People with cerebral palsy require long-term treatment and constant care. There are medications that can lessen muscle stiffness and improve functional abilities. They can reduce pain and other complications.  One of the major aspects of the treatment is constant physical and mental therapy. Through these sessions, children can develop strength, balance, and improve mobility. There are speech and language therapies to help in clear communication of CP patients. There are recreational therapy sessions to develop extra-curricular abilities and improve the emotional well-being. However sign symptoms can be manageable through following treatment-

  1. Supportive treatment
  2. Medications
  3. Surgery

Supportive treatment includes –

  • Physical therapy
  • Speech therapy
  • Occupational therapy

Medication includes-

  • Diazepam
  • Baclofen
  • Botulinum toxin

Surgery is the last option, sometimes it helps to improve the quality of life .It includes-

  1. Orthopaedic surgery
  2. Neurosurgery

Cerebral palsy occurs in about 2.1 per 1000 live births. Generally, Delayed developmental milestones is common for all types of cerebral palsy. While CP does not usually shorten life expectancy, it does require early intervention and good medical care for the best outcomes. This is especially true for those with severe disabilities. Proper treatment and support services to ensure a life without limits for people with a spectrum of disabilities

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