Physiotherapy for cerebral palsy

Cerebral palsy (CP) is non-progressive, which means that there is no change to the injury in the brain.

But functional abilities may change or decrease over time. This can be due to secondary changes throughout the body. For example, reducing range of movement at joints and reduced length of muscles.

Benefits of physiotherapy

Physiotherapy is important for disabled adults to maintain functional ability. It can also limit further contractures or limited muscle length.

Physiotherapy treatment may include exercises on how to increase or maintain:

  • mobility, such as walking and standing without an aid
  • the length of tightened muscles
  • the range of movement of your joints
  • stamina and exercise tolerance. This can also help to reduce fatigue.

Ageing and cerebral palsy

Your physio will also provide training and advice on:

  • balance to help improve confidence and reduce the risk of falling
  • positioning to achieve the best posture possible
  • equipment to achieve a 24-hour postural management programme
  • supportive devices, such as a wheelchair, orthotic devices or other adaptive equipment
  • hydrotherapy

People with cerebral palsy may see a neuro-physiotherapist. As well as a general physiotherapy qualification, a neurological physiotherapist has specific training and experience in:

  • neurological conditions
  • the way the brain and central nervous system work and affect other areas of the body
  • posture, movement and balance
  • neurodevelopment techniques

You can ask your GP for a referral to a neurological physiotherapist.

Last reviewed by Scope on: 09/11/2023

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