History of Cerebral Palsy

A History Of Cerebral Palsy And Its Treatments

Treating cerebral palsy(CP) has always been extremely difficult because it is a group of movement disorders that can affect different parts of the body and to varying degrees of severity. Unfortunately, these disorders are permanent and medical science is still a long way from finding a cure. Making the effort of people like https://lawrencerouse.io so valuable in spreading the message. While a cure may not be here today, there are certainly a number of effective treatments used to manage the various physical conditions associated with CP. These treatments have evolved tremendously over the decades and can now allow many patients to live a normal life.

A Brief History Of Cerebral Palsy

It’s believed that CP has affected mankind for as long as we have been around. Some of the earliest evidence of the condition is from between 15,000 and 14,000 BCE. There have also been mummified pharaohs discovered who are believed to have suffered from the condition. Some of the earliest pharaohs discovered were from 1196 BCE.

The condition has surfaced many times throughout history, though often times it was not understood. The Greeks made several strides in attempting to understand and classify the disorder. It is even believed that a well known Roman emperor suffered from cerebral palsy.

A fully modern understanding of CP did not begin until the 19th century. Its classification began with publications depicting specific brain abnormalities. Those publications were later found to create very specific physical conditions in the body. Shortly thereafter, William Little began to study the condition with full focus and would publish several papers on CP.

Classification continued further in the late 19th and early 20th century by Sigmund Freud, who would later become a world-renowned physiologist. Freud created a system of organization and classification that is still used by doctors today. The categories are related to the time of development of the condition whether they occurred before, during, or after birth.

The Evolution Of CP Treatment

As for modern medical treatment of the condition, that did not begin until the 20th century. Winthrop Phelps was the first physician to successfully treat CP. Rather than approaching the condition as a neurological condition, which is the route most experts had taken, Phelps treated the condition as a musculoskeletal disorder.

Phelps approach involved a number of surgical procedures designed to address the specific symptoms of the patient. For example, some patients experienced severe muscle rigidity in certain locations. Treating patients in this matter was extremely difficult and could only treat very specific symptoms.

Surgery is still used today to treat certain symptoms of the condition. Orthopedic surgery is often used to fix deformities and to improve functionality in the patient. Surgery carries more risks for very young patients so doctors tend to postpone surgical intervention for as long as possible. Some patients never need surgery while it is mandatory for others. For example, it’s often mandatory for patients suffering from joint contractures.

Rhizotomy is another surgical procedure sometimes used when treating patients with CP. It involves cutting nerves on the limbs that are the most affected by spasms. By reducing the number of nerves connected to the limb it can greatly reduce the frequency and severity of spasms while providing improved control for the patient.

Non-Surgical Treatment

In the 20th century, Andras Peto designed a physical therapy treatment for teaching kids with cerebral palsy how to walk and to perform a number of normal movements. His treatment became so popular that it was later used as the foundation for Conductive Education(CE). CE is a widely used educational system used to rehabilitate children and adults who suffer from a variety of motor disorders.

Over the following decades, CE and physical therapy, in general, would improve tremendously. It would eventually become the primary form of treatment for patients with CP. Children with cerebral palsy often begin physical therapy as soon as possible and can continue it through the rest of their lives. Because of the effectiveness of modern physical therapy, surgical intervention, and medication, more than 60 percent of patients with CP can walk independently.

A number of unique therapy approaches have evolved since the early days of Andras Peto. Many patients also take advantage of speech therapy, biofeedback, gait training, and even massage therapy. Speech therapy is particularly useful for patients whose head or neck is affected by CP. Many kids begin this prior to starting school so that they can effectively communicate.

Perhaps the most modern form of treatment available is referred to as virtual reality mirror therapy. It uses a combination of virtual reality technology and robotics to help patients learn to control their affected muscle. It is a relatively new approach and does not yet have a wealth of evidence to support its effectiveness, but does seem promising.

What Does The Future Hold?

Now that CP is better understood, the available treatments are improving dramatically. And we are already witnessing medical experts utilizing the latest in technology and robotics to help patients regain control of their bodies. There is no doubt that the future will hold even better treatments and one day perhaps a cure.

The Road Ahead

It has been a long, difficult road so far. We’ve accomplished much in the time we’ve been here together but there is still more work to be done.

Which is why we want to officially announce the re-fresh of our movement. Starting today, just about everything is changing. We will still be discussing the same topics but in a brand new direction. While our goals are the same: to perpetuate the correct information about Cerebral Palsy and all it’s connected ailments. We will be putting a heavier focus on the public relations of the subject.

Making sure that our message is palatable to a wider audience. Because, frankly, we need all the help we can get. If you’ve been with us since the beginning or if you’re brand new – I want to personally thank you for being here with us in our fight for the future.


Dr. Kane