The 4 Types of Cerebral Palsy You Should Know About

Updated on May 17, 2024
OfPT1nwAhEzdK0BgNyr8HlyrIIzN9trmlRJUcBRwWmVMqe CwmFvplkkirU2sjCr4oi T02CvHmfcdcOCv9cB62tBQK XPr8BtmKso6lreBiUwBk

Image source

Cerebral palsy (CP) is a group of conditions that affect movement, muscle coordination, and posture. It’s caused by damage to the developing brain, most often before birth. While there’s no cure for CP, many treatment options are available to help individuals manage their symptoms and live fulfilling lives.

Understanding the different types of CP is crucial. An experienced cerebral palsy attorney can explain the specific challenges associated with each type and how they might impact a person’s life. This knowledge can be empowering, especially for families navigating a diagnosis and seeking the best course of action for their loved ones.

Here are the four types of cerebral palsy you should know about.

Spastic Cerebral Palsy

The most common type of CP is spastic cerebral palsy. This type is characterized by muscle stiffness and tightness, which can make movement difficult and jerky. Spastic CP can affect one or both sides of the body, to varying degrees.

There are three main subtypes of spastic CP:

  • Hemiplegia: This subtype affects one side of the body, typically the arm and leg on the same side.
  • Diplegia: This subtype primarily affects the legs, although some individuals may also experience mild stiffness in their arms.
  • Quadriplegia: This is the most severe form of spastic CP, affecting all four limbs, the trunk, and sometimes the face.

People with spastic CP often experience muscle tightness, weakness, and difficulty with coordination. This can make everyday activities like walking, talking, and self-care challenging. The severity of these challenges will vary depending on the specific subtype and the individual’s condition.

Dyskinetic Cerebral Palsy

Dyskinetic cerebral palsy is another major type of CP. Unlike spastic CP, which causes muscle stiffness, dyskinetic CP is characterized by involuntary and uncontrolled movements. These movements can be unpredictable and often worsen when someone tries to perform a specific action.

There are three main subtypes of dyskinetic CP:

  • Athetoid CP: This subtype causes slow, writhing movements that can affect the limbs, face, and tongue.
  • Choreoathetoid CP: This combines features of both athetosis and another subtype called chorea, which causes brief, jerky, and unpredictable movements.
  • Dystonic CP: This subtype causes sustained muscle contractions that can result in twisting postures or repetitive movements.

Individuals with dyskinetic CP often experience involuntary writhing, jerky movements, and difficulty controlling their facial expressions. These challenges can impact communication, swallowing, and the ability to perform daily activities independently.

Ataxic Cerebral Palsy

This is a type of CP that affects balance and coordination. Imagine trying to walk a tightrope – the kind of wobbliness someone with ataxic CP might experience. This is because the cerebellum, the part of the brain responsible for balance and coordination, is damaged.

Common symptoms include tremors, clumsiness, and difficulty walking. These challenges can make everyday activities like dressing, writing, and speaking more difficult. Sometimes, speech may sound breathy or monotone, and eye movements might be slow.

Lifestyle of child in wheelchair

Image source

Mixed Cerebral Palsy

Mixed cerebral palsy occurs when someone has symptoms from more than one type of CP. Imagine a mix of muscle stiffness from spastic CP and involuntary movements from dyskinetic CP. This can be confusing, but it’s pretty common.

The symptoms of mixed CP will vary depending on the combination of types involved. For example, someone might have muscle stiffness (hypertonia) and floppiness (hypotonia) in different body parts.

The impact on daily life will also depend on the specific mix of symptoms. Some individuals may experience significant challenges, while others may manage with more moderate limitations.

Additional Considerations

It’s important to remember that cerebral palsy can affect more than just movement. Some individuals with CP may also experience vision problems, hearing loss, or speech difficulties.

Early diagnosis and intervention are crucial for managing CP effectively. If you suspect someone you know might have CP, seeking professional medical help is essential. A doctor can thoroughly evaluate and recommend the best treatment for their specific needs.

14556571 1295515490473217 259386398988773604 o

The Editorial Team at Healthcare Business Today is made up of skilled healthcare writers and experts, led by our managing editor, Daniel Casciato, who has over 25 years of experience in healthcare writing. Since 1998, we have produced compelling and informative content for numerous publications, establishing ourselves as a trusted resource for health and wellness information. We offer readers access to fresh health, medicine, science, and technology developments and the latest in patient news, emphasizing how these developments affect our lives.