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What is Spastic Cerebral Palsy?

It is a devastating experience for many parents when they hear from their doctors that their child has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy. This disorder confuses not only parents but also doctors and that is why it takes a long time for most doctors to diagnose this medical condition. After a thorough test, the doctor should be able to tell the parents what type of disorder is affecting the child.

Cerebral palsy occurs due to damage to part of the brain that can cause poor muscle coordination and body movement. Brain development in a baby starts from the time of pregnancy until the time she turns three, and depending on the damage that has occurred to her brain, babies can be classified with different types of paralysis. There are many types of cerebral palsy and spastic cerebral palsy is the most common type found in many children.

Parents should remember that cerebral palsy is not a progressive disorder, that is, it does not get worse with age. It is certainly not contagious or due to hereditary factors and is definitely not life-threatening. When a child is diagnosed with spastic cerebral palsy, it means that your child has stiff muscles, which tend to become too tight. They show remarkable resistance when stretched. Sometimes when they are hyperactive they cause the child to lean forward or show clumsy movements. In normal people, muscles tend to work in pairs. When one group of muscles begins to contract, the other group begins to relax and this gives us freedom of movement in our extremities. But in spastic paralysis, the spastic muscles are activated at the same time and this prevents movement and this muscular war between the two groups is called co-contraction.

There are three types of spastic cerebral palsy and they are spastic diplegia, spastic hemiplegia and spastic quadriplegia. When a child is diagnosed with spastic diplegia, the child finds that the hip and leg muscles are tight and the legs are crossed at the knees, making it very difficult for the child to walk. This type of condition is known as a “scissor” or “scissor gait.”

In spastic hemiplegia, the child experiences stiffness on only one side of their body, and sometimes it is the arms and hands that are affected more than the legs. His arms and legs, which are on the affected side, are not growing normally and need the help of leg braces to allow him to walk.

In spastic quadriplegia, which is the most severe of the three, a child affected by this disorder will be mentally retarded in addition to having limbs affected. The child will not only experience seizures, but will also find it difficult to speak, eat, and move easily.

Spastic cerebral palsy can be treated with the help of therapy, medication, and even surgery. Children with this disorder would do well to learn music and dance therapy, yoga, physical therapy to get better.

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