What is monoplegic cerebral palsy?
Monoplegic CP is a type of cerebral palsy that affects the movement in one limb of the body. This could be one arm, one leg, one hand or one foot. How much of the limb is affected depends on the size and location of the brain lesion.
Superheroes with monoplegic CP usually can have varying presentations of their affected limb. Weakness, loss of sensation, stiffness, and shaking are common, or any combination of those factors. Because the movement issue is caused by the brain, there is nothing wrong with the muscles themselves, but the messages going to the muscles from the brain, telling them to move.
BBP’s superstars with monoplegic CP have very different differences! But they all like being creative and making their exercises fun! We recently taught eight-year-old Annie to catch a ball with two hands for the first time! Annie plays adapted basketball, and amazingly learned to catch and dribble the ball with only her non-affected hand! But after lots of shoulder stabilising activities, weight bearing through her weaker hand, and strengthening work, she learned to use both hands! This means she can be even better at Basketball! Go Annie!
How can physiotherapy help?
Depending on the severity of your superhero’s monoplegic CP, physiotherapy can focus on any of the following: stretching tight muscles, positioning for activating paralysed muscles, strengthening work for weaker muscles, developing gross motor skills if they are affected by asymmetry, and improving balance skills.
Due to the wrong messages travelling to the muscles, they can become tight, rigid and stiff. Our aim is to prevent permanent stiffness and loss of flexibility. We do this through active stretching and sustained positioning. We are experienced and trained in measuring and fitting orthoses if they are required, but we make sure these look great and reflect our superhero’s creativity and personality!
Positioning and activation
We have developed our own ‘BBP way’ of creating movement in joints affected by neurological conditions. We work our magic and begin with activation. Sometimes children have compensated with different muscle groups over a long period of time and didn’t even know they had other muscles! We work on positioning, body awareness and promoting movement with the muscles at exactly the right length for easy activation. We use CIMT and mirror therapy to aid activation and reduce ‘neglect’ of the affected limb.
When the muscles are activated, we work on strengthening, but we always make it fun, exciting and functional. We make sure each muscle is strengthened for the task it was designed for; anything from low level activation for core stabilising muscles, high-powered contractions and muscle bulk for large, global mover muscles, and long-lasting, mid-loading endurance strength for muscles required for long periods of playing and having fun!
Function and participation
Your superhero will be provided with realistic but also challenging short-, medium- and long-term goals. After we have got to know your child, and their family, we tailor our goals to suit functional family lifestyle activities. All of our hard work in therapy sessions is geared towards participation and play!
Contact us to see if we can help your child with monoplegic CP!