Cerebral palsy: types, causes, symptoms and treatment

The development of the human brain is a prolonged and very complex process that begins during the development of the fetus and lasts a lifetime. This organ and the nervous system as a whole are the bases from which all the functions of our body are regulated, both at the level of the basic functions of our organs and for example by allowing actions such as voluntary movement. .

However, a variety of issues sometimes arise during fetal development, during childbirth, or in the early years of life when brain development does not occur properly and ultimately prevents the deployment of different skills or performance. various functions. When these problems of cerebral origin generate the inability to perform voluntary movement, we are talking about cerebral palsy.

    What is cerebral palsy?

    Cerebral palsy is considered to be the medical condition in which the presence of brain alterations or damage during brain development results in the development of the ability to move and psychomotor skills to be significantly limited. These limitations are usually congenital and involve permanent impairment that impairs processes such as learning.

    Problems with movement, muscle stiffness, incoordination, tremors, hypotonia and hyperkinesia in the joints often appear. This type of symptom can be generalized or seen to a greater extent in the extremities or a specific hemicos. Furthermore lack or difficulty in motor control caused by cerebral palsy it can cause difficulty in feeding, breathing and excretion. Sometimes sensory perception is also affected.

    It is common for there to be delays in the subject’s development and either it is too late or several individual milestones are not passed without this problem, given the existence of a problem in the nervous system. central that hinders the correct maturation. It may be accompanied by an intellectual disabilityAlthough this is not a symptom of this condition.

    The severity of this paralysis can be extremely variable and can be seen from the outset as a severe handicap for the subject who suffers from it, requiring constant support and care in cases of greater severity.

      Types of cerebral palsy

      There is no single type of cerebral palsy, but this term encompasses different subtypes of problems. Some of the most common are as follows.

      1. Spastic cerebral palsy

      One of the best known and most common forms, it is a type of cerebral palsy in which subjects suffer from a high level of muscle stiffness and major muscle group mobilization problems.

      There may be quadriplegia (Although also diplegia, paraplegia or hemiplegia), convulsions, apraxia, high level of arousal and activation and spasticity. Abnormal postures and contractions, hypertension and hyperflexibility are often observed.

      2. Ataxic cerebral palsy

      Among the less common forms, it usually occurs in the form of lack of muscle tone, incoordination, and lack of balance. Walking, in the case of those who have it, is difficult and poses a risk of falls. Hand-eye coordination also becomes complex, As well as advice.

      3. Dyskinetic cerebral palsy

      In this subtype of cerebral palsy hypotonia and are common the presence of involuntary dystonic or choreic movementsOften in the form of a contraction. They are particularly visible in the muscles of the face, so besides the hearing problems that they usually have can generate great difficulties in the area of ​​communication.

      Etiology (causes)

      The causes of cerebral palsy can be very varied, but are usually due to the presence of alterations or injuries during fetal development, During childbirth or in the first years after birth.

      These changes and lesions are usually congenital, but can also be acquired throughout development. Some of the acquired disorders can be meningitis, encephalitis, and intrauterine infections. too much it can occur as a result of cardiovascular accidents, trauma or anoxia during development or childbirth. Sometimes there have been cases of cerebral palsy resulting from abuse in the form of beating or tremors in infants.


      Although this is a condition which has no cure as it is caused by chronic and irreversible injury, it is possible to perform various treatments from a multidisciplinary perspective which enables the individual. strengthen and optimize their capacities, create and improve communication and, ultimately, ensuring that it achieves the highest possible level of development and well-being.

      Medically, they may require very different interventions depending on the difficulties that arise, from the application of relaxants and anticonvulsants the use of surgery to treat joint deformities or to place gastric tubes. In terms of prevention, it is necessary to take care of the diet during pregnancy (especially in conditions such as hypertension or diabetes) and to avoid the consumption of substances such as alcohol or drugs.

      One of the strategies to use is occupational therapy, which allows adequate stimulation of the child. The use of physiotherapy and logotherapy is also necessary, so that movement and communication skills are strengthened as much as possible.

      Education is another aspect that needs to be taken into account and which needs more attention, as the symptoms significantly hamper normative learning. It is necessary to establish individual plans for these children and to provide them with the necessary supports. It is necessary to stimulate these subjects and strengthen the basic functions and tasks of daily life, or educate the environment or caregivers in case they are not autonomous.

      Psychoeducation is essential not only for the child, but also for those close to him. It is also recommended to attend support groups where children and families can meet and share their experiences, thoughts, doubts and feelings.

        Bibliographical references:

        • Colver, A .; Fairhurst, C. and Pharoah, POD (2014). Cerebral palsy. Lancet, 583 (9924): 1240-1249.
        • Rosenbaum, P .; Paneth, N .; Leviton, A .; Goldstein, M. and Bax, M. (April 2006). A report: the definition and classification of cerebral palsy. Developmental Medicine and Childhood Neurology, 49: 1 – 44.

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