Cerebral Palsy - Osteopathic Healing Hands
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Cerebral Palsy

Does your little one have delayed developmental milestones such as poor head control, difficulty crawling and walking? Is your child not talking yet? Have you heard of the all-natural alternative, Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment (OMT)?

Studies have shown:

  • OMT is effective in treating children with spastic cerebral palsy.

Cerebral palsy is a neurological disorder that occurs in infants or in early childhood and affects body movements, balance, posture, and muscle coordination. It is the result of damage to one or more parts of the brain that controls movements. Most often, the disorder is present at birth but the signs may not be detected until 3 years.

Causes

Cerebral palsy may be caused due to one or more factors which include fetal brain damage during pregnancy, birth injuries during delivery, brain damage in the early years of life, infections such as bacterial meningitis or viral encephalitis, head injury following an accident or fall, seizures, and child abuse.

Symptoms

The early signs and symptoms of cerebral palsy include delayed developmental milestones (such as head control, rolling-over, sitting, crawling and walking), stiff or unusually relaxed muscles, slow and uncontrolled body movements, or delayed speech. With some cases, seizures may occur in the early years, drooling, and difficulty swallowing may be seen. Infantile reflexes such as sucking reflex and startle reflex, which usually disappears within 3-6 months, may persist for a longer time.

Diagnosis

The diagnosis of cerebral palsy is made based on a thorough history and physicial exam. Some of the tests your doctor may order include:

  • Blood and urine tests to check for any hormonal and metabolic conditions. DNA testing and chromosomal analysis may be done to rule out genetic disorders.
  • Imaging of the brain may be ordered in certain situations.
  • Other tests include electroencephalography (EEG) to detect seizures, and electromyography (EMG) and nerve conduction studies (NCS) to rule out other muscle and nerve disorders.

Treatment

Conservative management of cerebral palsy includes:

  • Osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT)
  • A rehabilitation program which includes physical therapy, use of special equipment such as walkers, positioning devices, and wheelchairs
  • Occupational therapy which teaches physical skills needed to function independently in life such as eating, dressing, and teeth brushing.
  • Speech/language therapy to improve speech and overcome problems of communication.
  • Your doctor may prescribe medicines to reduce spastic movements and prevent seizures.

Prenatal care with regular checkups and avoiding smoking, alcohol, illicit drugs, and certain medications during pregnancy may help prevent cerebral palsy.

For a list of articles supporting OMT, please click here.

Head & Nervous System Disease

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