old man with Cerebral Palsy

How can Physiotherapy Improve Functional Mobility Caused by Cerebral Palsy?

Cerebral palsy is one of the most common reasons behind children’s disabilities. Cerebral palsy is a series of neurological disorders that may affect movement, muscle tone or postures. Sometimes, the immature and growing brain of a child gets damaged before its birth. This damage causes cerebral palsy. Signs and symptoms of this disorder become visible in infancy or preschool days. Due to cerebral, impaired movement, exaggerated reflexes, floppiness, or spasticity of some organs including limbs and trunks. In order to treat cerebral palsy, it is important to optimise the motor functions of the patient. Physiotherapy is an integral part of the rehabilitation program. It can efficiently promote the brain’s functions for an action. Many parents are now looking for a trusted physio located in Dee Why on Sydney’s Northern Beaches for this treatment. The more a patient repeats an action, the stronger the neural pathways become. Similarly, overlooking an action may also weaken the neural pathways in the brain. With physiotherapy, the functional disability of a patient can be identified that needs immediate attention of an experienced physiotherapist. Once the problems are identified, the physiotherapist helps the patient recover. In most cases, physiotherapists prepare a tailored rehabilitation program for patients suffering from cerebral palsy.

Symptoms of Cerebral Palsy

Symptoms of cerebral palsy may vary from one person to another. Sometimes, it affects the entire body; while sometimes it may affect only some parts of the body or one side of the body. General symptoms of cerebral palsy are difficulties in movement and coordination, speech, eating, development, and other problems.

Listed below are some common symptoms of cerebral palsy:

  • Stiffness in muscle and exaggeration in reflexes
  • Diversity in muscle tone- being either too floppy or too stiff
  • Stiff muscles having normal reflexes
  • Imbalance and lack of muscle coordination
  • Jerky movements and tremors
  • Slow and writhing movements
  • Difficulties in walking, walking in toes, gaits like scissors with crossing knees, wide gait or asymmetrical gait
  • Challenging fine motor skills, such as buttoning clothes, or picking up utensils
  • Delayed speech
  • Excessive drooling or problems with swallowing
  • Delayed growth
  • Similar problems like cerebral play

Damage to the brain before birth can cause other neurological disorders as well, such as:

  • Epilepsy
  • Problematic hearing
  • Vision problems and abnormal eye movements
  • Abnormal touch or pain sensation
  • Bowel and bladder related problems, such as constipation and urinary incontinence
  • Mental health degradation, emotional disorders, and behavioural issues

How does Physiotherapy help?

The physiotherapist performs a thorough examination to determine the functional capacity of the child, its nature, and the extent of motor and other deficits. Some highly repetitive, task-specific exercises are associated with physiotherapy. It promotes neuroplasticity and this can lead to in some cases small but life-changing outcomes for patients. Physiotherapy boosts the functional capacity of the patient and enables the patient to move independently as much as it is possible. A well-planned interventional program, in most cases, is prescribed by an experienced physio like FlexiFit Physiotherapy who services Collaroy Plateau. Listed below are some ways physiotherapy can help patients struggling against cerebral palsy:

Assistive aids and modifications

Physiotherapists advise modifications such as two-handled cups, angle spoons, etc. These are useful in dealing with a stiff cloth collar.

Supportive Aids

Supportive aid devices are lightweight splints, which are used for maintaining normal postures. Exercise programs along with splining may help one get a near-normal posture.

Progressive Pattern

Sometimes physiotherapists teach the patients motion considering the head development, trunk rotation, arm on the face side or abduction, external rotation, hand open, elbow semi-fixed, etc.

Synergistic Movement Patterns

In physiotherapy, reflex responses are used in the beginning while voluntary control is deployed later. Head and trunk control can be attempted with stimulation of attitudinal reflexes, including tonic neck reflexes and tonic lumbar reflexes.


Physiotherapists use braces to rectify deformity, gain an upright position, and control athetosis. Children having spasticity need muscle braces.

Apart from these, some other methods through which physiotherapy can help a patient deal with cerebral palsy are proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation, neuromotor development, Reflex Inhibition, reflex creeping, balance intervention, electrical stimulation and hydrotherapy.
When you meet FlexiFit Physiotherapy for consultation, the physiotherapists will provide you with advice and possible remedies based on your specific circumstance. It’s important for the patients to choose the right physiotherapists who can lead them to recovery and this is where the trusted team at FlexiFit Physiotherapy can help.

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