Doctors diagnose children with cerebral palsy (CP) into three categories based on their movement disorder. Spasticity is a form of CP typified by caused by an increase in muscle tone.
Spastic symptoms are not limited to CP; other conditions such as multiple sclerosis, traumatic brain injury, stroke, or spinal cord injury may also be the cause. Spastic cerebral palsy is the most common form of CP, affecting approximately 400,000 people in the United States.
Cerebral palsy is caused by damage to the developing brain, and spastic CP occurs when the motor cortex of the brain is affected. The motor cortex, located near the top of the head, oversees the planning, control, and execution of voluntary movements. To do this, it sends neural impulses to other parts of the body that control movement.
When the motor cortex is injured, neural impulses travel through the damaged part of the brain, resulting in jerky, awkward movements. The same muscle groups receive these impulses over time, and the increased activity causes hypertonia or excess muscle tone.
Spastic CP significantly impacts the lives of children who suffer from the disorder. Although it can impact any muscle group in the body, it more commonly affects certain areas:
• Upper limbs – Spasticity in the arms and hands can cause involuntary bending of the elbow and wrists, and involuntary clenching of the hand into a fist.
• Lower limbs – Spasticity in the legs and feet can cause involuntary bending at the knee, hips, and toes.
• Facial muscles – Spasticity in the tongue and other muscles in the face can interfere with speaking, eating, and drinking.
Depending on the severity of the disorder as well as the affected muscle groups, children may experience difficulty completing everyday tasks, including:
• Getting dressed
• Eating and drinking
• Standing upright
• Sitting still
• Washing and showering
• Grabbing and manipulating objects
While spastic CP can be a debilitating disorder, there are treatment options, including physical therapy, oral medication, botulinum (Botox) injections, and surgery.
Consult With an Experienced Birth Injury Law Firm
If your child suffers from spastic cerebral palsy, it may have been preventable. The Michigan birth injury lawyers at the law firm of Sommers Schwartz focus on representing families with children who suffered birth trauma.
We are widely recognized as an authority in the area of medical malpractice, and we put our knowledge, experience, and dedication behind each of our client’s cases. To learn more about how we can help you pursue justice for your family, call 800-783-0989 to schedule a free case evaluation.