So, what if someone you know gets diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy? What are the symptoms and how do you go about finding treatment options for them? Before I begin this post I would like to say a few things. The first is that if someone you know is diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy, it is not the end of the world, they can still live a happy and fulfilled life. The second is that this post will be based off of the symptoms that I personally have and how I have treated / dealt with them. It’s important to note that I’ve been extremely lucky in the sense that none of the symptoms that I have experienced have been too serious, nor have my treatments for them. I will be pulling information from CerebralPalsy.org, if you’d like some additional information.
As noted on CerebralPalsy.org, the signs and symptoms of Cerebral Palsy are two different things and the severity of both varies from person to person based off of the brain injury. While I do have a handful of at least some of the bullet points under every sign listed on the site, (I can do another post about this later if anyone is interested) you’ll notice that the site falls short of actual symptoms.
Mayo Clinic does list symptoms, which can be as follows:
Muscular: difficulty walking, difficulty with bodily movements, muscle rigidity, permanent shortening of muscle, problems with coordination, stiff muscles, overactive reflexes, involuntary movements, muscle weakness, muscle spasms, or paralysis of one side of the body.
Surprise surprise — I do have difficulty walking and with bodily movements as well as stiff muscles, muscle weakness, muscle spasms. In my opinion, I feel like muscle rigidity and involuntary movements are symptoms that I have as well though not diagnosed or noted. I also feel that they have come on with age as the wear and tear of years of walking either independently or aided begins to take its toll. The way that I treat these things is my staying active and trying to maintain a decent diet, since none of these things cause me any real pain aside from what’s expected from wear and tear, there’s nothing a little tylenol, ibuprofen, a hot bath or heating pad, and some rest couldn’t fix. The most extensive treatment I’ve had for these issues is Botox injections, something I feel like should have its own independent post in the future.
I’ve never had any speech problems or been diagnosed with a learning disability though I struggled greatly with math and foreign language, which is common. And the only other common symptom I’ve had is a limp. I feel as though my journey with Cerebral Palsy has mostly been about pain management and maintaining or improving my “quality of life” — a phrase that is so often thrown around within the disabled community between doctor and patient, something else I feel deserves its own post, being that it can be hurtful despite the best intentions.
I wish I had more advice to those of you who are struggling. If you have any of the other symptoms listed on one of these sites or just anything you’d like to discuss in general, leave a comment down below. Tell us how you’ve treated it as well. You never know who you may help!