As cerebral palsy affects movement and muscle control, it can impact your ability to carry out daily tasks and remain independent. Physiotherapy can support those with cerebral palsy in a number of ways, and regular physiotherapy sessions should form part of your healthcare plan. Here's an overview of how physiotherapy can help:
Strengthening Exercises - Your physiotherapist can show you how to use gentle, targeted exercises to prevent joints from becoming rigid and increase your muscle strength. Improving your muscle strength can keep your body moving and increase your range of movement. The physiotherapist can design an exercise plan that encourages specific muscles to become more active and engaged while also encouraging other muscles to relax and loosen.
Postural Assessment - Muscle weakness can lead to poor posture as it becomes more comfortable to slouch or too difficult to keep your spine straight for prolonged periods. Your physiotherapist can assess the health of your spine and show you how to improve your posture in a variety of positions.
Mobility Aids - By assessing your mobility and discussing your current limitations with you, your physiotherapist can advise you on the types of mobility aids that may benefit you. They will be able to show you some of these aids and teach you how to use them. Aids that may be of use include a folding seat walking stick, bath board, weighted cutlery, and motorised scooter.
Group Exercise Sessions - Your physiotherapist may hold group exercise sessions specifically for those with cerebral palsy. These sessions will enable you to get a cardiovascular workout under the supervision of a trained professional, and you can meet other people living with cerebral palsy.
Ankle-Foot Orthosis - If muscle weakness has caused you to develop a dropped foot, you can prevent your foot from dragging and reduce your risk of falling by using an ankle-foot orthosis. This is a brace that provides the muscles in the affected foot with extra support and holds your foot straight. Your physiotherapist can measure your foot, supply you with an ankle-foot orthosis and follow-up with you to ensure it is working as it should.
Functional Electrical Stimulation - This treatment uses electrical stimulation to improve muscle function in a specific area of your body. For example, it can be used to encourage your foot to lift when you take a step. Your physiotherapist will show you how to use the small machine that delivers electrical stimulation through electrodes you position on your body.
If you're concerned about the impact of cerebral palsy on your mobility, schedule an appointment with a physiotherapist at a clinic like Como Physiotherapy Clinic for a thorough assessment.