The word “cerebral” refers to the brains cerebrum, which is the part of the brain that regulates motor function. “Palsy” describes the paralysis of voluntary movement in certain parts of the body.
Cerebral palsy is a disorder of movement, muscle tone or posture that is caused by damage that occurs to the immature, developing brain, most often before birth.
Cerebral palsy refers to a group of neurological disorders that appear in infancy or early childhood and permanently affect body movement and muscle coordination Cerebral palsy (CP) is caused by damage to or abnormalities inside the developing brain that disrupt the brain’s ability to control movement and maintain posture and balance.
Cerebral palsy affects the motor area of the brain’s outer layer (called the cerebral cortex), the part of the brain that directs muscle movement.
Cerebral palsy is caused by abnormal development of part of the brain or by damage to parts of the brain that control movement. This damage can occur before, during, or shortly after birth. The majority of children have congenital cerebral palsy CP (that is, they were born with it), although it may not be detected until months or years later. A small number of children have acquired cerebral palsy, which means the disorder begins after birth. Some causes of acquired cerebral palsy include brain damage in the first few months or years of life, brain infections such as bacterial meningitis or viral encephalitis, problems with blood flow to the brain, or head injury from a motor vehicle accident, a fall, or child abuse.
In many cases, the cause of cerebral palsy is unknown. Possible causes include genetic abnormalities, congenital brain malformations, maternal infections or fevers, or foetal injury, for example.
Variations in muscle tone, such as being either too stiff or too floppy
Stiff muscles and exaggerated reflexes (spasticity)
Stiff muscles with normal reflexes (rigidity)
Lack of muscle coordination (ataxia)
Tremors or involuntary movements
Slow, writhing movements (athetosis)
Delays in reaching motor skills milestones, such as pushing up on arms, sitting up alone or crawling
Favouring one side of the body, such as reaching with only one hand or dragging a leg while crawling
Difficulty walking, such as walking on toes, a crouched gait, a scissors-like gait with knees crossing, a wide gait or an asymmetrical gait
Excessive drooling or problems with swallowing
Difficulty with sucking or eating
Delays in speech development or difficulty speaking
Difficulty with precise motions, such as picking up a crayon or spoon Seizures.