What is cerebral palsy

Cerebral palsy is the collective non progressive motor impairment with permanent damage to brain occurring before, after or at birth. It is said to be the permanent change in motor nerve function of the brain or the chronic condition of brain with inability to have control over the muscle contraction and coordination, right from the birth during infancy stage or even before birth in the fetal development stages.   Our body movement is mainly depends on the musculoskeletal system. Muscles are under control of the brain especially the cerebral cortex area. Brain fails to send impulse or have control over the muscle action leading to coordination and balance problems.   In today`s world the education on cerebral palsy has increased a lot of awareness in preventing cerebral palsy. Various precautions are readily available and undertaken to make our society free from cerebral palsy children’s.  

What are the types of cerebral palsy:

  Cerebral palsy has wide range of types according to the area of brain affected or damaged. Mostly the types vary according to the muscle tone and movement disability. Among all the major four types of cerebral palsy are  


  This is the palsy with spastic (increased muscle tone) condition affecting the one or both the limits of the body. According to the affected limbs or sides of the body it is called as SPASTIC HEMIPLEGIC or DIPLEGIC or QUADRIPLEGIC ATAXIC:   This palsy has an intelligent brain and good communicating skill, but the fine motor skills and the insight skills for judgment are impaired. This is least common type.  


  This palsy is mainly due to damage in basal ganglia. The intelligence will be normal, but the movement has no coordination and no muscle tone (hypotonic). There will be disturbances in normal gait. This palsy affects the motor task abilities and impairs the speech and swallowing process.  


  This palsy has features of flaccid appearance of baby. Muscle tone is reduced; the reflex resistive action is lost. This type has damages seen in the cerebella regions.  


  This palsy has the combination of other palsy characters and features.  

causes and risk factors for cerebral palsy:

  The main cause for cerebral palsy is the damage to the brain area responsible for the development of the motor activities and abilities. The Collapse in brain development process is also the cause for cerebral palsy. Extent of injury and its severity depends on the timing of injury and type of injury to brain.   Risk factors are the mode for developing the disease. Not all these risk factors listed are required to cause cerebral palsy, even a single risk factor leads to cerebral palsy. The major risk factors at three different stages are as follows   Prenatal risk factors:  

    • Malnutrition of the mother in pregnancy period cut off the nutrition to the fetus.


    • Increase in blood pressure and sugar level in blood of pregnant mother


    • Maternal convulsion and mental retardation.


    • Any infections like measles or viral infection at the time of pregnancy


  • Placental abruption

  During delivery:  

    • Premature delivery –delivery within the 37 weeks.


    • Less oxygen supply – lack in doctor and nurse care in governing the oxygen supply to mother and new born.


    • Prolonged bleeding


    • Change in heart rate


    • Accidental delivery


  • Fetal distress during delivery

  After birth:  

    • Insufficient oxygen supply – reduced supply of oxygen to the brain cells affecting the motor area or other controlling the musculoskeletal system.


    • Infectious conditions –attack of the micro organism in the infant are more likely to be the risk factor involved in developing cerebral palsy.


    • Insufficient hospital care after the birth of the child especially wrong nursery care.


    • Intracranial hemorrhage


  • Inter ventricular hemorrhage

  Various other risk factors other than injuries increasing the cause of cerebral palsy are  

    • Baby born for mother of very old age (>40) or very younger age (<18) has some risk factors for cerebral palsy.


    • Baby born with under birth weight as low as 35 pounds.


  • RH factors unmatched between mother and the baby.


What are the Symptoms of cerebral palsy:

  The symptoms of cerebral palsy are seen in very early stages after birth. Within 3 months after birth infant shows variations or inability in certain normal tasks. Various symptoms shown in cerebral palsy are as follows

    • Difference seen in the muscle tone of the child, may be too rigid or too floppy.


    • Difficulty in coordination and balance.


    • Stiffness in muscle with or without the exaggerated reflexes.


    • Uncontrollable head movements and tremor features in arms and legs are visible.


    • Asymmetric action – one side of body acts more freely than the other.


    • Interruption in development stages – Inability of infant to sit and stand on its own.


    • Poor Nerve development sign –  Certain delay in reflexes are visible


    • Trouble in eating and swallowing leading to severe feeding problem.


    • Trouble in development of speech


    • Dragging leg while crawling


  • Few other conditions associated show symptoms like hearing and vision difficulty, mental retardation, and impeded breathing process


How to diagnose cerebral palsy

  Before diagnosing the child careful understanding of the mother cares in pregnancy and delivery. This will give a suspicion idea for the specialist to go for further tests.  

    • The PEDIASTRIAN and neurologists is the main specialists in testing the cerebral palsy conditions. They conduct various tests to detect the muscle tone, motor skills, gait control, and achievable reflexes and abnormal posture.


    • MRI scan – is done to obtain the cross section images of the brain to find the area of damages in brain.


    • Ultrasound uses high frequency sound waves to detect the images of the brain.


    • CT scan – shows the images of cross section of brain to diagnose the under developed area of brain.


    • Electroencephalogram is done to check the electrical activity in brain to check for any seizures has associated.


  • Some blood tests are done to confirm for the blood clots in any area of brain.


Most possible complications of cerebral palsy:

  Cerebral has the tendency to be the pre factor for other disorders in the body. The damaged area of brain can associate the other normal areas and produce lesion effects. Certain common complications seen are as follows  

    • Seizure is the main complication of the cerebral palsy.


    • Few cases with vision and hearing impairments are seen.


    • Severe eating and swallowing difficulties can occur


    • Loss of bladder control


    • Loss of muscle mass  and prominent muscle weakness.


    • Altered movements to compensate for the impaired movements.


    • Pre mature ageing is visibly seen in few cases


    • Arthritis – Different arthritic conditions possible may be specific or generalized. Added pressure on the bones and joints due to improper coordination and improper gait formation.


    • Complete disorientation in speech pattern


  • Social isolation leading to depression – created by the chronic stress and anxiety.


Better ways to manage cerebral palsy

  Cerebral palsy is not curable only the limitations can be done. The complications can be prevented from occurring.   Few medications for cerebral palsy are:  

    • Anti spasmodic drugs – drugs used for relaxing the spasm of the muscles. Most commonly used drugs are DIAZEPAM AND BACLOFEN.


    • Anti cholinergic drugs – drugs used for the regaining of body reflexes.


    • Laxatives for constipation


  • Anti seizures drugs – if any seizure is present.

  Therapies for cerebral palsy:   Different therapies are involved in the program of managing cerebral palsy. These therapies aim at the improvement and control of certain symptoms of cerebral palsy. Various therapies involved in controlling the symptoms and complication of cerebral palsy are:  

    • Physical therapy


    • Psychological therapy


    • Occupational therapy


    • Speech therapy


    • Pediatric care therapy


    • Behavior therapy


    • Play aids


    • Series of counseling


    • Neurologist intervention


    • Some surgeries undergone


  • Nutritionist intervention

  These therapies make cerebral palsy person to live life longer with ease.  

How to Prevent cerebral palsy:

  Various possible preventive measures are increasing day by day. Most important factors needed to be considered for prevention are as follows  

    • Pre natal care is the most important factor to prevent cerebral palsy


    • During pregnancy mother should be immunized for various infectious conditions


    • Mother should be administered with proper nutritious diet according to the advice of the doctors


    • Frequent checkups by pregnant mother should be followed.


    • RH factor unmatched should be detected earlier and proper immunization is done.


    • Proper supervision of delivery under doctors advice.


    • Preventing delivery injury – with the proper nursery care.


    • Jaundice occurrences should be prevented


  • Frequent monitoring of oxygen supply.

  In today`s world various modern techniques are available for preventing cerebral palsy. But the task of doing it is a complete challenge and involvement of various processes.  

Facts and Myths about cerebral palsy:


    • Commonly people think that cerebral palsy is a disease and be cured as age progresses. But cerebral palsy is a permanent condition that is controllable for rest of life.


    • Some think cerebral person are incapable of job doing and low intelligence. But Cerebral palsy affected person as all the intelligence and skills to do a job completely.


    • Independent life is impossible. But this is not true cerebral palsy person can lead a normal independent life with the proper therapeutic administration.


  • It is true that cerebral palsy patient can get married and bear children. Only few exception cases.



  Cerebral palsy is the condition with lot of motor disability related consequences. This can be prevented in today’s modern world by lot of modern equipments available. Each and every country has developed the awareness of cerebral palsy to a larger extent. Various therapies are available for the management of the cerebral palsy affected people. Every cerebral palsy affected person can lead a normal life by control measures and medicines available. Independency is acquired. So today the risk factors for and of the cerebral palsy condition could be easily reduced and life threatening is avoided.