Physical Therapy for Kids with Cerebral Palsy

April 12, 2021

Physical Therapy for Kids with Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral Palsy (CP) describes a group of disorders affecting the normal development of posture and movement. It is caused by injury to the brain such as trauma, infection, stroke, or loss of oxygen that occurs before, during, or up to two years after birth. Those diagnosed with CP have varying degrees of muscle control, balance, and mobility, depending on how severe the disorder is. Pediatric physiotherapy or physical therapy are important forms of rehabilitative health care for children living with CP. They are recommended by most physicians regardless of how mild or severe the condition is. 


Physical Therapy for Kids with Cerebral PalsySome of the goals of physical therapy are to help children with CP overcome physical limitation obstacles, reduce physical discomfort and pain, learn about the use of adaptive equipment, and promote independence. Physical therapy rehabilitates impairments by training and strengthening the muscles, particularly in the arms, legs, and abdomen, increasing mobility and functional control of the body. It focuses on basic mobility such as standing, walking, climbing the stairs, or operating a wheelchair. In addition, physical therapy builds muscle tone and decreases the chances of bone deformity. 


After a diagnosis, a trained physical therapist will identify a child’s mobility issues and physical limitations to develop a treatment course that will include specialized exercises, stretches, and possibly assistive and adaptive equipment. Passive modalities involving hot and cold packs or ultrasound technology can also be employed when necessary. Furthermore, positive reinforcement is provided as the therapy focuses on the child’s capabilities and not on their limitations. All treatment is designed to meet a child’s individual needs in a safe and supportive environment.  


Physical therapists are valuable partners in the health of children with CP. They provide care at different development stages, working with other healthcare professionals to address needs as priorities change. Below are the reasons why you should consider a Cerebral Palsy treatment program for your child: 


Early Years, Birth to age 4: Together with the child’s caregivers, PTs focus on movement development. They begin hands-on training for positioning, feeding, play, movement, and self-calming. Your PT will also suggest changes at home to encourage movement development and promote vision, hearing, communication, and play skills. The program will be more on fun play activities to improve function, movement, and strength.  


School Years, Ages 5 to 18: At this stage, caregivers will be trained by PTs to help a child achieve functional goals. The treatment plan and goals will focus on mobility and fitness and involve exercise therapy and any equipment necessary to maintain health and function. PTs will suggest strategies that address self-care, maintain a daily routine, and promote social interaction activities. This will help the child plan for their schooling and future careers. 


For adolescents, physical therapy focuses on preventing posture problems and joint mobility limitations. Children with CP are at higher risk for not getting enough activity or exercise, leading to weight issues and other medical problems. Therefore, developing a personal fitness program is recommended. After evaluating a child’s interests, strengths, and abilities, that’s the time PTs will recommend the right sport or activity. Examples include cycling, swimming, tennis, basketball, or any activity that will promote physical fitness and socialization with peers. 


Many individuals with CP can live highly functional lives as adults. They can enjoy careers and families just like any normal person would, especially when appropriate interventions are started at an early age. Dubai physiotherapy clinics are skilled in helping people with CP in all areas of development. Consult with the experts at Scandinavian Physiotherapy Center DMCC for the best-personalized treatment. Call +971 4 551 6126 to book an appointment today!