Cerebral Palsy Symptoms and Treatment

Ava Lawson | March 5th, 2013 | Posted in Cerebral Palsy Lawsuit News

Cerebral Palsy SymptomsThere are several manifestations of cerebral palsy – one of the more common types of preventable birth injuries which may be attributed to medical negligence. The early signs and symptoms of cerebral palsy (CP) may vary greatly depending on the level of brain damage that was sustained during birth. Sadly, there is no known cure for cerebral palsy, but those with the condition may benefit from a combination of medical treatments.

Cerebral palsy symptoms may be mild or severe, depending on the specific type of injury. Symptoms are typically evident by the time a child is two years old, but in some cases, parents may notice unusual signs as early as three months. Spastic cerebral palsy is the most common type and coordination problems are associated with all forms. In instances where cerebral palsy is severe, a child may present with early signs shortly after birth, such as difficulties with sucking or swallowing, holding itself in unusual positions, or seizures.

Cerebral palsy symptoms

The following cerebral palsy symptoms may be indicative of spastic, dyskinetic, ataxic, hypotonic, and mixed types of the condition:

  • Tight muscles that do not stretch
  • Abnormal walk, where legs make scissor-like movements, walking on the toes
  • Joints are tight and inflexible
  • Muscle weakness or loss of movement in a group of muscles
  • Abnormal movements (twisting or jerking) of the hands, feet, arms, or legs
  • Tremors
  • Unsteady gait
  • Loss of coordination
  • Floppy muscles 

Associated neurological problems

Brain damage linked to cerebral palsy and similar birth injuries may contribute to other neurological issues. Children with cerebral palsy symptoms may also suffer from:

  • Seizures
  • Abnormal touch or pain perceptions
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Difficulty with vision and hearing
  • Developmental and cognitive delays 

Long-term cerebral palsy treatment options

Since there is no cure, those afflicted with cerebral palsy – and their families – often face a lifetime of medical care, which focuses on minimizing the physical and mental effects of the condition. Specific prognoses will depend on the individual, but most cases require a concerted effort of skilled doctors, surgeons and therapists.

  • Physical therapy is usually begun as early as possible to help a child become more mobile. It may also prevent the need for future orthopedic surgery.
  • Special medications such as muscle relaxants or anticonvulsants may be prescribed to help mitigate symptoms and prevent further complications.
  • Selective dorsal rhizotomy – a surgery where the nerves to the affected limbs are cut to prevent problems with bones and related muscles, ligaments, and tendons.
  • Orthopedic surgery
  • Medical equipment: casts, braces or splints specifically designed for a child’s needs.
  • Ongoing pain management as indicated 

Parents who have a child with CP should expect routine visits with primary care doctors, as well as specialists who will be monitoring cerebral palsy symptoms over time. These appointments may include periodic blood tests to determine adjustments in medications, and extensive questionnaires to evaluate whether the child has reached normal developmental milestones. Additionally, regular examinations for hearing, vision, and speech problems are usually required.

Medical malpractice attorneys offer hope

A newborn’s cerebral palsy diagnosis is heartbreaking news to any parent, whether attributed to genetic causes, premature birth, or doctor error. Prolonged oxygen deprivation to the fetus during labor is a leading factor in numerous birth injuries, and when medical negligence is to blame for a child’s cerebral palsy, legal recourse is available. The medical malpractice attorneys at Balkin & Eisbrouch are well-versed in such tragic cases, and are committed to helping families recover compensation for their child’s needless pain and suffering. A successful birth injury lawsuit may result in millions of dollars, which will be needed to cover special therapies and years of medical care. Some reports suggest that cerebral palsy treatments for one child can surpass one million dollars over  the course of a lifetime.

For a free and confidential case evaluation, call the law firm of Balkin & Eisbrouch to determine your eligibility for filing a claim.