One of the most important therapies available to cerebral palsy sufferers is physical therapy. Because there is no cure for the disorder, patients with the disorder typically require a lifetime of treatment. It is the job of the physical therapist to help a child’s mobility by teaching and carrying out exercises designed to avoid contractures, bone deformity and unwanted movement.
A potential physical therapy program could involve one or more of the following:
- Stretching – The therapist assists in moving the arms and legs in a way to produce a slow, steady pull on muscles, keeping them loose. Most children with cerebral palsy have very tight muscles and increased tone, requiring daily stretching to keep arms and legs limber enough for continued movement and function.
- Strengthening – The therapist assists in strengthening exercises for muscle groups needed to properly support the child’s body and increase function.
- Positioning – By placing the child’s body in specific positions, the therapist helps achieve long stretches, minimizing unwanted tone. The therapist achieves positioning in various ways, including bracing, abduction pillows, knee immobilizers, wheelchair inserts, sitting recommendations and handling techniques.
Without physical therapy, many cerebral palsy sufferers would be trapped by their condition. The work done by these therapists is vital and necessary for victims to live the best life possible.
Cappolino Dodd Krebs, LLP – cerebral palsy attorneys