Physiotherapy plays an important role in the management of cerebral palsy and can help to reduce symptoms and improve physical functioning. Learn about the types of physiotherapy techniques used for cerebral palsy, as well as how to incorporate other forms of therapy, such as occupational therapy and speech therapy, into your loved one's treatment plan.
Understand the condition and associated challenges.
The first step in the management of cerebral palsy is to understand the condition and associated challenges. This can help you develop a comprehensive treatment plan that considers your loved one’s unique needs and preferences. It's important to consider factors such as age, diagnosis, and co-morbidities when developing an individualized treatment plan. Physiotherapists will also assess your loved one’s movement abilities and physical functioning in order to identify areas where intervention is needed most.
Develop a physiotherapy plan tailored to the individual.
The physiotherapy plan for your loved one should be tailored to their specific needs and circumstances. Consider their diagnosis, age, and any co-morbidities that can impact their management. Their goals should focus on areas of maintenance, prevention, therapeutics (stretching, strengthening exercises), posture correction, orthotic interventions and energy conservation strategies.
Utilize an interdisciplinary approach to treatment.
An interdisciplinary approach is a collaborative effort between all medical and allied health professionals of whom the purpose is to develop a plan best suited to the individual patient. Each professional has their own expertise and insight into the case and when combined provide a holistic approach in addressing the needs of each patient. The physiotherapist should work closely with other members of the team including speech-language therapists, occupational therapists, nurses and physicians to create an appropriate program that takes into account all areas of need.
Provide physical, cognitive and psycho-social support.
Physiotherapists should provide physical, cognitive and psycho-social support to individuals with cerebral palsy. The physical aspect involves working on mobility, posture and movement strategies. Cognitive therapies can focus on learning strategies for independent daily living tasks, whilst psychological assistance may involve providing emotional support through strategies such as talk therapy. All of these combined can help patients increase their sense of self-efficacy and the ability to manage stress in order to overcome the different obstacles they encounter in routine life.
Monitor progress regularly with therapeutic assessments.
Through assessing the status of a patient’s progress, physiotherapists can make adjustments in treatments to suit the changing needs of the individual. A typical assessment will involve measuring muscle tone and strength, range of motion, posture control and joint alignment. This is usually done through manual testing as well as functional assessments such as getting up from a chair or performing activities such as reaching, bending and twirling while standing or walking. Progress is also monitored through medical imaging technology like X-rays, CT scans and MRI scans. This enables physicians to see how conditions like contractures or scoliosis may be progressing. By analysing these results physiotherapists can tailor treatment plans specifically to suit a patient’s condition.