Cerebral Palsy (CP) is a non-progressive neurological condition that affects body movement, muscle coordination, muscle control, muscle tone, reflex, posture, and balance.
As a result, individuals with CP could lose their fine motor skills, gross motor skills and oral motor function. Furthermore, CP could lead to additional medical issues such as impaired vision and hearing, intellectual disabilities, mental health conditions and seizures. Although there is currently no cure for CP, early treatment interventions help individuals to gain independence and full inclusion into society.
How do we treat Cerebral Palsy at Complete Balance?
Our brain has an unexpectedly plastic nature and if a neurological pathway is damaged leading to the loss in motor or sensory function, another can sometimes take over for it. Acupuncture treatments, specifically Zhu’s scalp acupuncture techniques, help to “unmask” these “secondary” neural pathways and with repetitive treatment in combination with Daoyin, the newly developed pathways strengthen. With each session, we are able to train the brain to develop and improve functions, which may not return on its own.
There are four major scalp acupuncture systems in the world but clinically, Zhu’s scalp acupuncture have demonstrated most remarkable effect in dealing with neurological conditions. Treatments using this system has been found to have astonishing results in developing functions in children with cerebral palsy including paralysis, ataxia, hypotonia or hypertonia, apraxia, dysarthria (trouble speaking), dysphasia, and mental retardation. The results are most remarkable in the infantile stage as earlier intervention reduces the number of deficits and complications as a result of muscle spasticity and seizures. Muscle spasticity can be reduced significantly after several sessions but for lost motor or sensory function, treatments have to be repeated frequently to reinforce the neurological pathway.
CP is the result of brain damage to the immature brain during the developing stage, more often before birth, but the damage could also occur during birth or immediately after birth. Defects could occur before birth as a result of genetic mutation leading to abnormal brain development of the fetus, maternal infection that affect the developing fetus or a fetal stroke that disrupt the blood supply to the developing brain. Although less common, complications due to difficult labour or delivery could lead to asphyxia (deprived oxygen to the brain). Before two years of age, traumatic head injuries or infant infections could cause inflammation in the brain leading to acquired cerebral palsy.
There is no cure for CP but early intervention methods consisting of training, therapy and adaptive equipments are recommended as the primary treatment protocol. A multidisciplinary team of medical specialists such as physical therapists, occupational therapists, recreational therapists, and speech therapists will work closely with the child’s paediatrician to accomplish care goals and enhance functional abilities of the person with CP.
Medications and orthopaedic surgeries may be recommended in order to help diminish spastic movements and complications related to spasticity. However, the results of drug treatments are often temporary and are accompanied by side effects and certain surgical procedures come with risk of permanent loss in motor function and numbness. For instance, Botulinum type A toxin, commonly known as Botox, is prescribed when spasticity is isolated to one muscle group. It is considered a potent poison, potentially lethal, and, therefore, individuals with swallowing or respiration problem need to take precaution in the dosage limit. As well, the effect of the medication wears off after 3 months and studies have shown for the effect to decline with repeated injections.
Every case of CP is unique to the individual, and the location of impairment, level and extent of severity and types of motor impairment varies significantly from person to person. Some may demonstrate spasticity(stiff muscles) while others flaccidity(floppy muscle). The loss in motor function could be limited to one limb or one side of the body or it could affect the whole body. Some individuals show normal intellectual capacity while others may have intellectual disabilities. Signs and symptoms become apparent during infancy or preschool years. Aside from seizures that could lead to further brain damage, already established symptoms do not progress with time. However, muscle rigidity and shortening may worsen if treatments are not introduced at early age.