What to Know About Spastic Cerebral Palsy
Spastic cerebral palsy (CP) is the most common type of CP and affects around 80% of people who are diagnosed with cerebral palsy. This type of cerebral palsy is characterized by overly stiff, tight muscles that cause problems with movement or result in jerky, stiff movements. Children with spastic CP can’t relax muscles, leaving them in a continuous state of muscular tension. Infant injury law firms, including Raynes & Lawn, handle birth injury claims in cases in which a child’s spastic CP resulted from the medical negligence of doctors or nurses during pregnancy, labor, or shortly following birth.
Types of Spastic Cerebral Palsy
There are several variations of spastic cerebral palsy based on the regions of the body that are affected, including the following:
- Spastic hemiplegia CP – Affects the muscles on one side of the body but not the other side
- Spastic triplegia CP – Affects the limb muscles of three limbs
- Spastic diplegia CP – Affects one set of limbs but not the other (either both legs or both arms)
- Spastic monoplegia CP – Affects the limb muscles of one limb alone (one leg or one arm)
- Spastic quadriplegia CP – Affects the muscles of all of the limbs and commonly has associated conditions, including intellectual disabilities, seizure disorders, and trouble swallowing
Spastic CP Symptoms
Symptoms of spastic CP might not be apparent until the child reaches 18 months. Some signs to watch for include the following:
- Inability to sit up or a delay in doing so
- Missed developmental milestones
- Child appears to be in constant pain
- Lack of reflexes
- Stiffness and rigidity
- Jerky, stiff movements
- Exaggerated stretch reflex
- Trouble changing the body’s position
- Difficulty holding or grasping objects
- Limited movements
How Spastic CP Is Diagnosed
When a parent notices their child is experiencing symptoms that might indicate spastic cerebral palsy, the pediatrician will refer them to a neurologist. The neurologist would observe the child and conduct some of the following tests:
- Electroencephalograph (EEG) to check the brain’s electrical activity
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Computerized tomography (CT) scan
- Electromyograph (EMG) to look for muscle weakness
If your child is diagnosed with spastic cerebral palsy, you will need to start an intensive therapy program for your child and should speak with a Philadelphia birth injury lawyer at Raynes & Lawn. In many cases, spastic cerebral palsy results from medical malpractice.
What a Diagnosis of Spastic CP Means
Children with spastic cerebral palsy have an increased muscle tone because of problems with the signals between the spinal cord and brain caused by damage o the pyramidal tracts that relay the signals. Children who have spastic CP might have trouble walking independently and could experience chronic pain in their legs. Cerebral palsy also affects the central nervous system. Your child might have trouble with all of the following things:
Many children with spastic CP have co-occurring conditions, including epilepsy. A large percentage of children with this condition will experience both spastic CP and seizures. Some children also have mental health issues because of their brain injuries. A holistic treatment team comprised of multiple therapists and doctors will address the whole child to treat their symptoms.
Treatment for Spastic CP
Because of the severity of spastic cerebral palsy, your child will likely have a treatment team working together to deliver treatment and therapy. Your child’s team will likely be led by a pediatric neurologist.
Early intervention is critical for improving your child’s quality of life and helping them perform daily activities by improving muscle and motor control.
Some of the types of treatment and therapy that your child might need include the following:
- Physical therapy to help your child improve their muscle tone, decrease spasticity, and control movement
- Occupational therapy to help your child with fine motor skills and improve sensory functioning
- Speech therapy to improve your child’s ability to speak and swallow
- Medication to address symptoms, including pain, stiff muscles, and seizures
- Surgery to reduce muscle tension or correct deformities
- Medical equipment and prosthetic devices, including leg braces, wheelchair, and others
- Therapeutic heat to relax stiff muscles
Your child’s treatment plan will depend on the severity of their condition and their age. Your doctor might also prescribe daily routines to reduce your child’s muscle tightness and pain, including stretches and over-the-counter medications.
Find Birth Injury Lawyers Near Me
If you live in Pennsylvania, you should reach out to a Philadelphia birth injury lawyer at Raynes & Lawn. Many cases of spastic cerebral palsy are caused by the medical mistakes made by doctors or nurses that result in brain damage. If your child has been diagnosed with spastic CP, our attorneys will investigate what happened around the time of your child’s birth and work with medical experts to determine whether your child’s condition was caused by medical negligence. Our attorneys have more than 50 years of experience helping families recover financial compensation when their children’s cerebral palsy was caused by malpractice and have recovered billions of dollars for our clients. To learn more about your child’s case, call us for a free consultation at 1-800-535-1797.
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