Cerebral palsy in adults and children requires a care plan that is long term. It also requires a team of care providers. According to the Mayo Clinic, this team may be made up of:
• Physiatrist or Pediatrician
• Pediatric Neurologist
• Orthopedic Surgeon
• Physical Therapist
• Occupational Therapist
• Speech or Language Pathologist
• Developmental Therapist
• Mental Health Specialist
• Social Worker
• Special Education Teacher
There are certain medications that are used to make the muscles less tight which can lead to improved functionality of limbs. These meds can also be used to manage complications that are related to cerebral palsy or spasticity as well as to treat pain.
It is crucial that you have a long conversation with medical personnel in order to determine if and what medical treatments are available for the needs of the child. Medication selection is based on the problems that may affect the whole body or only certain muscles.
These can include:
• Isolated spasticity which is spasticity that is isolated to only a specific group of muscles. For this condition, the doctor will more than likely recommend Botox injections (onabotulinumtoxin A) directly into the nerve, the muscle or both. This treatment has also shown some signs of success with drooling. These injections are given every three months.
There are side effects which can include bruising, pain or severe weakness. One of the more dangerous side effects is difficulty with swallowing and even breathing.
• Generalized spasticity is where the entire body is affected. Oral relaxants such as Valium, Dantrium and Gablofen may help to relax contracted and stiff muscles. These have their own side effects.
Valium is not recommended for use in long term situations. It can cause drooling, weakness and drowsiness.
Dantrium has been known to cause things like diarrhea, nausea and sleepiness.
Gablofen can include nausea, confusion and sleepiness. This particular drup may also be administered by a tube into the spinal cord. In this case, there is a pump that is implanted surgically into the abdomen.
• For drooling there are meds like Scopace, Robinul Forte and Robinul that may be prescribed.
There are also many types of therapy that may be prescribed at one point or another. These can include:
• Physical therapy
• Occupational therapy
• Speech and language therapy
• Recreational therapy
In addition to all of that, there may be certain surgeries needed. They can include:
• Orthopedic surgery which will put the bones back into the right places and positions
• Severing nerves happens when there is no treatment available in extreme cases. While this is done to sever the nerves to the spastic muscles, it can both reduce pain and relax the muscles but it can also cause there to be a numbness in the area.
It is imperative to bear in mind that all of these meds, treatments and surgeries may not be needed in every case. Your doctor will discuss treatment options available that are specific to your child’s case with you and come up with a personalized plan of care that should be followed stringently.