Cerebral palsy is a broadly defined condition, which can consist of a variety of symptoms in varying degrees. There are two major types of cerebral palsy – athetoid and spastic – both of which cause difficulty with movement and small motor skills. Both are caused by poor development or damage to areas of the brain that control movements.
SIGNS OF CEREBRAL PALSY EMERGE IN THE FIRST THREE YEARS OF A CHILD’S LIFE AND CAN INCLUDE:
- Poor motor skills – Delays in reaching developmental milestones, such as sitting, crawling, and walking.
- Slow reflexes – If you suspect your child may have cerebral palsy, describe the symptoms to your pediatrician and ask him or her to conduct specialized tests to determine whether your child has cerebral palsy or some other condition.
Athetoid cerebral palsy – also known as dyskinesia cerebral palsy – is a condition caused by damage to a developing brain. Children with this condition alternate between hypertonia and hypotonia, or high and low muscle tone, that can result in either stiff, tense muscles, or “floppy” muscles. This is usually caused by trauma or a lack of oxygen during delivery.
According to Cerebral Palsy Guide, a national support group, there are several types of athetoid CP, such as:
- Dystonia – Slow, rotational movement of the torso, arm or leg.
- Chorea – Sudden involuntary movements, especially in fingers and toes.
- Athetosis – Sluggish, writhing movements, mainly in fingers and face.
- Choreoathetoid – A combination of chorea and athetosis.
- Ataxia – Loss of balance and coordination.
- Rigidity – High muscle tone due to hypertonia causes restricted movement.
- Dyskinesia – General term to describe involuntary movements. Athetoid CP is often interchangeably referred to as dyskinetic CP for this reason.
Signs and symptoms of athetoid CP typically begin to appear at nine months and can include:
- Involuntary movement.
- Poor posture.
- Twisting of the torso.
- Slow, writhing movements.
- Abrupt movements.
- Grimacing or drooling.
Spastic cerebral palsy is a much more common type of disorder, making up more than 70 percent of all CP cases. A child with spastic CP has muscles that are unnaturally tight, causing stiff, awkward movements, including difficulty walking. This is generally caused by a prenatal brain hemorrhage, lack of oxygen or trauma during birth.
Signs and symptoms of spastic CP, according to Cerebral Palsy Guide, can present as:
- Stiff, tight muscles (hypertonia) on one or both sides of the body.
- Exaggerated movements.
- Limited mobility.
- Abnormal gait.
- Crossed knees.
- Joints don’t extend fully.
- Walking on tiptoes
- Abnormal reflexes.
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Cerebral palsy is a lifelong condition and many patients suffer from mixed cerebral palsy, which means they have symptoms of both spastic and athetoid cerebral palsy. Each patient is unique and can display symptoms of one or both types of cerebral palsy in varying degrees.
Many people with cerebral palsy are not seriously debilitated by the condition, and, in general, the condition does not progress over time. However, in most cases, even mild cases of cerebral palsy might require specialized training and other therapy to overcome their limitations.
One of the causes of cerebral palsy is doctor error during delivery or neonatal care, including head injuries during delivery, as well as diseases that go unrecognized and untreated, such as jaundice and rubella, or Rh incompatibility, which may result in brain injury leading to cerebral palsy.
If your child has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy and you believe the condition was caused by medical or obstetrical negligence, reach out to our Colorado medical injury lawyers today. Our skilled legal and medical malpractice team will review your cerebral palsy claim with you and help you determine how best to go forward to secure your child’s and your family’s future. Call us today at 303-792-5595 or fill out our FREE CASE EVALUATION Form before it’s too late.