Cerebral Palsy (CP) is a medical condition that affects control of the muscles. If someone has cerebral palsy it means that because of an injury to their brain, they are unable to use some of the muscles in their body in the normal way. Children who have cerebral palsy may not be able to walk, talk, eat or play like other kids. CP is not a disease or illness. It isn’t contagious and it doesn’t get worse, but it is not something you “grow out of.” Children who have CP will have it all their lives.
Cerebral palsy is caused by an injury to the brain before, during, or shortly after birth. Sometimes injuries to a baby’s brain happen while the baby is still in the mother’s womb. The injury might be caused by an infection or by an accident in which the mother is hurt. If the mother has a medical problem such as high blood pressure or diabetes, this can also cause problems in the baby. There may be problems during birth such as the baby not getting enough oxygen, or a difficult delivery in which the baby’s brain is injured. Problems after birth may happen when a baby is born too soon (premature delivery) and his body is not ready to live outside his mother’s womb. The most important thing to remember is that you do not “catch” CP from another person, and you do not develop CP later in life. It is caused by an injury to the brain near the time of birth.
Children with CP have damage to the area of their brain that controls muscle tone. Depending on where their brain injury is and how big it is, their muscle tone may be too tight, too loose, or a combination. Muscle tone is what lets us keep our bodies in a certain position, like sitting with our heads up to look at the teacher in class. Changes in muscle tone let us move. Children with CP are not able to change their muscle tone in a smooth and even way, so their movements may be jerky or wobbly. The different types of CP are:
If muscle tone is too high or too tight, the term spastic is used to describe the type of cerebral palsy. Children with spastic CP have stiff and jerky movements because their muscles are too tight. They often have a hard time moving from one position to another or letting go of something in their hand. This is the most common type of CP. About half of all people with CP have spastic CP.
Low muscle tone and poor coordination of movements are described as ataxic CP. Kids with ataxic CP look very unsteady and shaky. They have a lot of shakiness, like a tremor you might have seen in a very old person, especially when they are trying to do something like write or turn a page or cut with scissors. They also often have very poor balance and maybe very unsteady when they walk. Because of the shaky movements and problems coordinating their muscles, kids with ataxic CP may take longer to finish writing or art projects.
The term athetoid is used to describe the type of cerebral palsy when muscle tone is mixed – sometimes too high and sometimes too low. Children with athetoid CP have trouble holding themselves in an upright, steady position for sitting or walking, and often show lots of movements of their face, arms and upper body that they don’t mean to make (random, involuntary movements). These movements are usually big. For some kids with athetoid CP, it takes a lot of work and concentration to get their hand to a certain spot (like to scratch their nose or reach for a cup). Because of their mixed tone and trouble keeping a position, they may not be able to hold onto things (like a toothbrush or fork or pencil). About one-fourth of all people with CP have athetoid CP.
When muscle tone is too low in some muscles and too high in other muscles, the type of cerebral palsy is called mixed. About one-fourth of all people with CP have mixed CP.
Children with CP often go through different kinds of therapy to help them improve their motor skills for things like walking, talking and using their hands. Some kids get therapy at school and some kids go to a special clinic to see their therapists. Therapists are special teachers who are trained to work with people on learning better or easier ways to do things. Therapists coach people to help them learn and practice new skills.
Physical Therapy: Physical therapists help children learn better ways to move and balance. They may help children with CP learn to walk, use their wheelchair, stand by themselves, or go up and down stairs safely. Kids may also work on fun skills like running, kicking and throwing a ball, or learning to ride a bike.
Speech and Language Therapy: Speech therapists work with children on communication skills like talking, using sign language, or using a communication aid. Children who are able to talk may work with a speech therapist on making their speech clearer or on building their language skills by learning new words, learning to speak in sentences, or improving their listening skills. Children who are not able to talk because of their difficulty controlling the muscles needed for speech may learn sign language or use some kind of communication aid like a book, a poster or an alphabet board. Computers that talk can also be used as communication aids!
Occupational Therapy: Occupational therapists usually work with children on better ways to use their arms, hands, and upper body. They may teach children better or easier ways to write, draw, brush their teeth, dress and feed themselves, or control their wheelchair. Occupational therapists also help children find the right special equipment to make some everyday tasks easier.
Recreational Therapy: Recreational therapists help kids with CP have fun. They work with children on sports skills or other leisure activities. In recreational therapy, kids may work on dance, swimming or horseback riding. They may also work on art or horticulture or almost any other hobby they have.
In addition to problems controlling their muscle movement, children with CP may have some other problems too. Most of these are caused by the same brain injury that caused CP.
Talking and Eating: Just as CP can affect the way a person moves their arms and legs, it can also affect the way they move their mouth, face and head. This can make it hard for the person to talk clearly and to bite, chew and swallow food. Their speech is hard to understand, they are unable to make their lips, jaw and tongue move quickly.
Learning Problems : About one-fourth to one-half of children with CP also have some type of learning problem. It may be a learning disability or a more severe learning problem like mental retardation in which they learn everything at a slower rate. People with mild mental retardation may learn to read and write but people with more severe mental retardation probably will not. This does not mean that children with severe mental retardation cannot learn, just that they learn at a slower pace than most other kids and will need some extra help in school.
Seizures: About half of all children with CP have seizures. This is due to some abnormal activity in their brains that interrupts what they are doing. Often, the abnormal brain activity happens in the same place as the brain injury which caused the CP. The brain is constantly sending messages out to the body – to breathe, to move, to keep your heart pumping. A seizure is a series of abnormal messages being sent out very close together. This may cause someone to stop moving during a seizure or to lose control of his or her body and fall down. Some people show shaking movements all over when they are having a seizure. Seizures usually last a few seconds to a few minutes, and in most cases are not dangerous. Medications are required for the management of seizures.
A child with CP requires a multidisciplinary approach since the problems are at various levels. The following therapeutic modes are recommended.
- Medical intervention
- Occupational therapy
- Special education
- Speech therapy
Surgical intervention where ever necessary
Homoeopathy is a 200 years old system of medicine discovered by Dr. Samuel Hahnemann a German Physician and is based on the Natural Holistic Form of medicine based on laws of nature. Homeopathy takes consideration of the person as a whole and the prescription is based on INDIVIDUAL FEATURES. So each child though having the same diagnosis of CP will need INDIVIDUAL Homeopathic Medicine. And that is how it helps in a holistic way as improvement is seen at both the physical as well as mental level.
- Homoeopathy is a holistic science.
- Homoeopathic medicines are safe without any adverse side effects and are soothing to the child.
- Homoeopathy works in perfect synergy with other essential therapies like physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, yoga
At our centre although we work in a team with allopathic colleagues like orthopaedic surgeon, neurologist etc. homoeopathy is the central therapeutic modality.
Foundation skillfully utilizes a holistic approach combining Homoeopathy with other therapies as well as the intervention of Paediatric Orthopaedic surgeon.