European University of Lefke (EUL) Faculty of Health Sciences, Head of Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation Department Assst. Prof. Dr. Aydın Meriç gave information about Cerebral Palsy.
“The word cerebral means brain. Palsy is used to express weakness of movement and paralysis. Cerebral Palsy or in other words cerebral palsy is a problem that mainly affects the tone of the muscles, movement and motor skills of the person. Cerebral palsy is a condition that describes a group of problems related to muscle activity and body posture. It develops after damage that occurs when the brain is still in its developmental stage. These problems do not progress, and the brain damage that is the source of the problem can occur even while the baby is still in the womb. Various factors such as multiple pregnancies, intrauterine tumoral formations restricting the development of the baby in the mother’s womb, substance use by the mother during pregnancy, preeclampsia (pregnancy poisoning), meconium aspiration and hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) are also considered as risk factors for the development of cerebral palsy. stated that the signs and symptoms of the disease began to manifest themselves in infancy and pre-school period.
Meriç stated that the symptoms of cerebral palsy range from mild to severe and vary from person to person, that some people with cerebral palsy have difficulty walking and sitting, while others may have problems with grasping objects, and that the symptoms may become more severe or alleviate over time. He pointed out that different symptoms may occur depending on the part of the body.
Meriç stated the most common symptoms as; Delays in motor skill development such as rolling, sitting alone or crawling, changes in muscle tone such as excessive stiffness or looseness, delays in speech development and difficulty speaking, stiffness and exaggerated reflexes called spasticity in the muscles, muscle coordination weakness called ataxia, tremors and involuntary movements He stated that it can be seen as neurological problems such as falling frequently, preferring one side of the body, holding objects with the same hand all the time, seizures, intellectual disability and blindness.
Meriç continued his statements as follows; Children with cerebral palsy also have problems with swallowing and eye muscles. Since these people cannot work their eye muscles in a coordinated manner, they have trouble focusing on any object. Abnormal reflexes, laxity of the body, stiffness in the trunk and extremities, posture disorders and gait disturbance are among the symptoms that can be seen in children with cerebral palsy. It inhibits the body’s ability to act in a coordinated and purposeful way.
In cerebral palsy, the limitation on the functioning of the muscles and physical activity is permanent.
Most children with cerebral palsy are born with the disease, but may not show signs of the disease until months or years later. Symptoms usually appear before the child is 3 or 4 years old. There is no definitive cure for cerebral palsy. The goal of treatment is to improve limitations and prevent complications. Children and adults with cerebral palsy need long-term treatment with a medical care team. There is a multidisciplinary approach in the treatment of cerebral palsy. Medication, physiotherapy, occupational therapy (ergotherapy), speech therapy, special education and, when necessary, botox or surgical treatments are applied.
Botox, which stands out with its use in the aesthetic field, can also be used in the treatment of cerebral palsy. Botox is preferred to relieve stiffness caused by excessive contraction of the muscles. Thus, physical therapy studies to strengthen the relevant muscles can be applied more effectively. Botox also relieves patients by relieving the distress caused by contraction. During the first 1-2 years after birth, physiotherapists provide support in subjects such as head and trunk control, rolling, walking and grasping. It works to encourage your child’s independent participation in daily activities and routines at home, at school and in the community, using different strategies and adaptable equipment.
Meriç drew attention to the fact that the early symptoms of cerebral palsy should not be overlooked and continued his statements as follows;
– Your baby cries a lot unnecessarily, it is difficult to make him happy and you cannot silence him,
– If he is holding his hands with his thumbs in the palm of his hand and does not open them,
– If your baby has an asymmetry in the use of hands before the age of one, suggesting that he is right-handed or left-handed,
– If there is asymmetry in the movements of the arms and legs,
– If he does not hold his head high enough, does not watch you when he sees you, does not smile, it would be appropriate to contact the nearest pediatrician.
It is necessary to be patient during the treatment process, the treatment is carried out with the support of experts and family. It should not be forgotten that it is necessary to be patient in its treatment and that this is a team work. The roles of physical therapy and rehabilitation specialists and physiotherapists are of great importance in solving problems in motor skills. In the treatment of posture and gait disorders of patients, oral medication may be required to relax the muscles and to perform physical therapy more easily. However, in special cases, botox treatment and muscle relaxation operations can also be performed.
Advice for families of children with cerebral palsy
– In cases such as developmental delay, motor retardation, indifference to the environment, asymmetry in the arms and legs, excessive crying and not keeping silent, holding the thumbs in the palms and not opening the hands, it is important for the families to consult a pediatrician and act on their recommendations. .
-Despite all kinds of negativities, it should be known that there are many things that can be done for the child to grow up healthily.
– Since the treatment can be long and tiring, families may turn to some alternative treatment methods from time to time. It would be appropriate to seek the opinion of experts on these unproven treatments and not to resort to these methods unconsciously.