Ageing and cerebral palsy
People with CP age in the same way as non-disabled people.
Problems people with CP report as they get older
As you get older, the wear and tear of living with CP can begin to cause other physical difficulties.
Some long-term effects of ageing and CP can include:
increased levels of pain and discomfort osteoarthritis (pain and stiffness in the joints) increase in spasms increase in contractures (shortening of muscles) tight muscles digestion problems new or increased back pain incontinence
There are various reasons why people with CP can experience greater physical difficulties in later life.
Poor wheelchair seating and posture
If you have inadequate seating support, this can make spinal problems worse. This could lead to pain and discomfort or sometimes loss of function in your limbs.
Lack of exercise
Exercise is important to keep you moving. If your muscles tighten too much, this can lead to contractures.
CP and physiotherapy Carrying on walking
Carrying on walking when you are having difficulties may cause long-term problems. This can lead to arthritis in your joints. It can also cause back pain, as your other muscles try to compensate for awkward movements.
Many people with CP push themselves to their physical limit. Lack of rest can lead to a decline in your physical and mental function.
CP and fatigue Recovery after injury or illness
Recovery after an injury or illness can take much longer as you get older.
Inappropriate orthopaedic surgery
Surgery can help prevent spinal deformities and contractures. Check that surgeons have specialist knowledge of CP before agreeing to any procedure.
CP therapies and treatments Ask our CP information officer
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