Every 20 hours, an Australian child is born with cerebral palsy. It is the most common physical disability in childhood.
What is Cerebral Palsy?
Cerebral palsy is a non-progressive, neurological disorder that affects movement and posture. It is caused by damage to the developing brain either during pregnancy, birth, or after birth. The symptoms of cerebral palsy vary from person to person and can range from mild to severe. Some common symptoms include muscle stiffness, muscle weakness, tremors, and difficulty with coordination and balance. Children with cerebral palsy may also have difficulty with speech, vision, and hearing.
Understanding the Role of Physiotherapy
Physiotherapy plays a crucial role in supporting children with cerebral palsy. The main goal of physiotherapy is to help children achieve their maximum physical potential. Physiotherapy can help to improve muscle strength, flexibility, and coordination. It can also help to improve posture, balance, and mobility.
A physiotherapist will work with you and your child to create an individualised treatment plan that is tailored to your child's specific needs. The treatment plan may include exercises to improve strength and flexibility, as well as activities to improve balance and coordination. Your child’s physiotherapist may also use specialised equipment such as braces, splints, or walkers to help your child move more easily.
Benefits of Physiotherapy for Children with Cerebral Palsy
Physiotherapy offers numerous benefits for children with cerebral palsy. One of the most significant benefits is improved physical function. Physiotherapy can help children with cerebral palsy to move more easily, which can lead to increased independence and improved quality of life.
Another benefit of physiotherapy is improved socialisation. Children with cerebral palsy may have difficulty with socialisation due to their physical limitations. Physiotherapy can help to improve physical function, which can make it easier for children to participate in social activities and interact with their peers.
Physiotherapy can also help to prevent secondary complications such as muscle contractures and joint deformities. These complications can occur when a child with cerebral palsy is not able to move their body in a normal way. Physiotherapy can help to prevent these complications by improving muscle strength and flexibility.
Types of Physiotherapy Treatments for Children with Cerebral Palsy
There are several types of physiotherapy treatments that can be used to help children with cerebral palsy. One of the most common types is exercise-based therapy. This type of therapy involves exercises to improve strength, flexibility, and coordination. The exercises may be done with or without equipment, depending on your child's needs.
Another type of physiotherapy is hydrotherapy. This type of therapy involves exercises that are done in a pool. The buoyancy of the water can make it easier for your child to move their body and improve their physical function.
How to Find the Right Physiotherapist for Your Child
When choosing a physiotherapist, it is essential to consider their experience and qualifications. Look for a physiotherapist who has experience working with children with cerebral palsy and who has the necessary qualifications and certifications.
It is also essential to consider the location and availability of the physiotherapist. Choose a physiotherapist who is located close to your home or work and who has flexible hours to accommodate your schedule.
Frequently Asked Questions about Physiotherapy for Children with Cerebral Palsy
The length of physiotherapy treatment varies depending on the child's needs and the severity of their cerebral palsy. Some children may only need a few weeks of treatment, while others may require ongoing physiotherapy for several years.
Yes, it is essential for children with cerebral palsy to do physiotherapy exercises at home to maintain and improve their physical function.
Physiotherapy should not be painful. A physiotherapist will work with the child to ensure that exercises and treatments are comfortable and do not cause pain.
Find out more
Our team of physiotherapists are experienced in supporting children with cerebral palsy to live their best lives.
We currently* have availability with no waitlist in multiple Brisbane suburbs. Call us on 1800 XAVIER or complete the simply form on our physiotherapy page and we’ll be in touch.