How does physiotherapy help?
Physiotherapists are specially trained to help anyone with cerebral palsy be as mobile and independent as possible. Given that the condition has such a big effect on mobility, posture and balance it is unsurprising that physiotherapists play such an important role in supporting adults and children with cerebral palsy. The main aims are usually around increasing mobility, preventing injury and reducing pain or discomfort. Here are some of the ways physiotherapy can help:
Benefits of physiotherapy
- Improved balance
- Greater strength and flexibility
- Better co-ordination
- Greater range of joint motion
- Greater ability to perform a task such as standing, walking, climbing stairs or using a wheelchair
- Improved posture
- Decreased likelihood of contractures or bone deformity
- Ability to take part in a specific sport
- Finding an alternative way to solve a day-to-day problem
What to expect
Most children are referred to a physiotherapist shortly after diagnosis. Adults may be referred from their GP or may self-refer. The GP or paediatrician may ask the physiotherapist to look at specific treatment goals. This may be for example, gaining movement in a specific set of muscles, or helping someone use or adjust to orthotic equipment like a stroller, walker or wheelchair. The NHS offers more guidance on what to expect from your NHS physiotherapist.
Finding a therapist
Physiotherapy is available through the NHS, which you can access through a referral from a health professional, while some areas also accept self referrals. Alternatively, you can choose to seek treatment with private therapists, such as NeuroPhysio Scotland - to find a suitable service, The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy lets you search for a therapist near you. You may also choose an intensive therapy block of trans-disciplinary therapy like Bobath, where the therapist will work alongside a physio or OT.