The stretches and exercise a physical therapist recommends will depend on how bad our cerebral palsy is.
No two people with cerebral palsy are alike and therefore no two treatment programmes are likely to be the same. As a general rule, neuro-physiotherapists (who deal with brain injuries) who deal with cerebral palsy patients, will apply techniques that work on muscle stiffness and tension that is a characteristic of cerebral palsy.
The techniques include both a strengthening and stretching component. Stretches will aim to apply a constant pull of the muscle, whilst being gentle at the same time. This will slowly increase in intensity.
Since cerebral palsy is a permanent condition, both stretches and exercises should be practiced daily so that wellness may be achieved. Around five to twenty hours a week should be spent on building muscle strength.
The physical therapist’s job is to help you achieve a smooth but healthier muscle tone so that you can function. As well as stretches that aim to build strength, other exercise and cerebral palsy stretch programmes will be used to help correct the affected muscle groups.
Cerebral Palsy patients tend to have to deal with mobility and incorrect posture which add to their problems. Because most of the problems tend to be in the arm and leg area, techniques will be used to concentrate on those areas in order to keep them limber. In time a more smooth and uniformed muscle tone should develop.
Safe stretching and exercise in water is also a good way for people with cerebral palsy to do their daily exercises as more therapists now use this technique. Water tends to offer a more natural resistance and assistance when performing daily exercises without putting too much pressure on the joints.
Currents in the water are used to pump up natural resistance, making it easier to work the muscles harder whilst assisting in movement and mobility.