Cerebral palsy

Cerebral palsy is the term used to describe various movement disorders caused by damage to the brain during pregnancy, birth or in infancy. Sufferers may also have cognitive impairment, delayed mental development and pain that have serious negative consequences for their quality of life and independence. Learn more about the condition, its diagnosis and the different treatment options available.

There are several treatment options to alleviate the symptoms of spasticity in patients with cerebral palsy:

  • Botulinum toxin Type A injections: reduce spasticity in the affected limbs. The botulinum neurotoxin blocks the nerve signal to the muscle and helps to reduce the muscle contractions. Injections need to be repeated every three months approximately.
  • Surgery: when botulinum toxin injections are not effective enough to help with the spasticity, surgery may be indicated to lengthen muscles and improve mobility.
  • Drug treatments: muscle relaxants such as baclofen and diazepam are effective in the treatment of spasticity. Anticonvulsant drugs are indicated for convulsions.
  • Physiotherapy: is necessary in addition to drug therapies or surgery to help reduce spasticity. Stretching exercises improve the range of movement and prevent sometimes painful muscle retraction and contraction.
  • Splints and orthoses: prescribed by an orthopedic specialist, neurologist or rehabilitation specialist, they can be used to improve posture and walking.

2 to 2.5

cases per 1,000 live births in industrialized countries

Motor, sensory and intellectual impairment

3 to 18 months

the average age of diagnosis

Sources :

1 Rosenbaum P, Paneth N, Leviton A, Goldstein M, Bax M, Damiano D, Dan B, Jacobsson B. The Definition and Classification of Cerebral Palsy. Dev Med Child Neurol 2007; 49 : 1-44, doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8749.2007.00001.x
2 Stanley F, Blair E, Alberman E. Cerebal Palsies: Epidemiology and Causal Pathways. MacKeith Press; 2010.

Last update 13/04/2017