Cerebral Palsy is an umbrella term that covers conditions caused by brain damage that impair movement, hearing, seeing, learning and thinking. The most common type of birth injury, cerebral palsy can occur before, during or after birth. Any brain damage inflicted up to the age of 3 can result in cerebral palsy.
The area of the brain that is damaged determines how the condition will affect the child. Spastic cerebral palsy occurs when the cerebral cortex (outer layer of the brain) becomes damaged. Affecting up to 80% of cerebral palsy patients, spastic cerebral palsy can affect various areas of the body.
Spastic cerebral palsy refers to an increased tension in a muscle. Normal muscles work in pairs—when one muscle group contracts, the other relaxes, allowing free movement in the desired direction. In infants with spastic cerebral palsy, however, the muscle tension is disrupted because of complications in the brain to muscle communication. Muscles affected by spastic cerebral palsy are active together and inhibit effective movement, leaving muscles tense, or spastic.
When spastic cerebral palsy is mild, only a few movements are affected. In severe cases, however, the entire body is affected. Although cerebral palsy is not a progressive disorder, meaning it does not get worse overtime, muscle spasticity may increase, limiting the range of movement in the joints. The symptoms of spastic cerebral palsy can increase with anxiety or overexertion, leading to extreme fatigue.
In addition to causing abnormal movements, spastic cerebral palsy can disrupt normal growth in children. Spastic cerebral palsy can also inhibit:
- Longitudinal muscle growth
- Protein synthesis in muscle cells
- Stretching of muscles
While infants with spastic cerebral palsy do not have deformities at birth, they can develop them over time because of joint contractures.
Treatment for spastic cerebral palsy depends on the severity of the symptoms. Deciding on treatment for infants with spastic cerebral palsy can be hard for parents to make on their own. Discuss your treatment options, which range from botox injections to orthopedic surgery, with your doctor. In addition, if you child was born with spastic cerebral palsy, you may be eligible to obtain compensation to pay for these treatments. Fill out our free case evaluation form on the right to speak to a birth injury lawyer today.