In a baby carried to term with no other obvious risk factors for CP, it may be difficult to diagnose the disorder in the first year of life. Often doctors aren’t able to diagnose CP until they see a delay in normal developmental milestones (such as reaching for toys by 4 months or sitting up by 7 months), which can be a sign of CP.
Abnormal muscle tone, poorly coordinated movements, and the persistence of infant reflexes beyond the age at which they are expected to disappear also can be signs. If these developmental milestones are only mildly delayed, the diagnosis of CP may not be made until the child is a toddler.
Once diagnosed with cerebral palsy, further diagnostic tests are optional. Neuroimaging with CT or MRI is warranted when the cause of cerebral palsy has not been established. MRI is preferred over CT due to diagnostic yield and safety. When abnormal, the neuroimaging study can suggest the timing of the initial damage.
If the child has seizures, an electroencephalogram (EEG) will be done to determine if he or she has epilepsy, which often occurs in people with cerebral palsy.
ComplicationsMuscle weakness, muscle spasticity and coordination problems can contribute to a number of complications either during childhood or later during adulthood, including:
- Contracture – Contracture is the shortening of muscle tissue due to severe tightening of the muscle (spasticity) – Contracture can inhibit bone growth, cause bones to bend, and result in joint deformities, dislocation or partial dislocation.
- Malnutrition – Swallowing or feeding problems can make it difficult for someone who has cerebral palsy, particularly an infant, to get enough nutrition. This may cause impaired growth and weaker bones. Your child may need a feeding tube for adequate nutrition.
- Mental health conditions – People with cerebral palsy may have mental health (psychiatric) conditions, such as depression. Social isolation and the challenges of coping with disabilities can contribute to depression.
- Lung disease – People with cerebral palsy may develop lung disease and breathing disorders.
- Neurological conditions – People with cerebral palsy may be more likely to develop movement disorders or worsened neurological symptoms over time.
- Osteoarthritis – Pressure on joints or abnormal alignment of joints from muscle spasticity may result in the early development of painful degenerative bone disease (osteoarthritis).
Ayurveda ManagementManagement of cerebral palsy always remained a quest for the physicians all over the world. Even with introduction of newer and better possible ways to improve the functions of the child so that the quality of life is improved but still is a challenge for them.
Cerebral palsy cannot be correlated with any single disease or condition mentioned in Ayurveda, as it is a multi-factorial disease. Classical signs and symptoms of CP will fit into criteria of Vata vyadhi (Vata predominant disease). Hence Vata vyadhi chikitsa will prove beneficial.
Overall goal of treatment is to help the individual with cerebral palsy reach his or her greatest potential physically, mentally, and socially. It is to improve the quality of life by establishing optimal independence.
Treatment at CHARAKA for CP involves intensive Panchakarma therapy program along with researched oral medicines. Therapies like Abhyanga swedam, Nasyam, Pichu, Shirodhara, Pizhichil, Navara or mamsakizhi, Vasti are done based on the presentation. Duration of therapy could range from 3 weeks to 5 weeks.
Repetition of therapies in small courses either individual or in combination intermittently will yield great benefit and stands as long term support for CP child.