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Five ways physiotherapy can make a difference to someone with cerebral palsy

Five ways physiotherapy can make a difference to someone with cerebral palsy

  1. Physiotherapy improves motor development

As babies, most of our motor development occurs within the first 18 months of life. We spiral-learn through repetitive movements. Physiotherapy teaches babies and their families to help them to move using developmental pathways.

  1. Physiotherapy aids postural alignment and prevents the development of contractures and deformities

Abnormal patterns of movement occur due to altered muscle tone and muscle imbalance. The muscles on one side of the joint become overstretched and those on the other side shorten. Physiotherapists use facilitated handling techniques and exercises to influence muscle tone and movement. They can also advise on splints and postural management equipment.

  1. Physiotherapy can ease stiffness and prevent or reduce pain

High muscle tone (spasticity), repetitive abnormal movement patterns, and postural malalignment can lead to pain and stiffness. Physiotherapists can teach stretching, movement and strengthening exercises which can be integrated into a person’s daily routine.

  1. Physiotherapy provides rehabilitation after surgery or botulinum toxin injections or when skills are being lost

Physiotherapy can help maintain skills for as long as possible, especially during adolescence when the muscle and bone do not always grow at the same rate. In adulthood it can be hard to keep mobile when it is effortful to move and tiredness kicks in. A physiotherapist can help in pacing activities and keeping people as mobile and independent as is feasible.

  1. Physiotherapy can help to educate everyone involved and promote a physically active lifestyle

A good physiotherapist will always empower a young person to take as much control over their life and physio as possible. Physiotherapy can be offered in different ways such as hydrotherapy, rebound (trampolining), hippotherapy (horse riding), and functional electrical stimulation to name but a few. A physiotherapist can help to find the best approach to suit the individual person.