Cerebral Palsy And Aging

Some symptoms normally related to primary aging may occur prematurely in individuals with cerebral palsy.

If you care for an individual with cerebral palsy, it’s important to review those symptoms normally related to the aging process but which can occur much earlier in those with CP. These conditions include:

  • An increase in back pain
  • An incontinence problem
  • An increase in muscle contractions
  • An increase in spasm regularity or strength
  • Back pain in areas where pain did not previously occur
  • Fatigue or reduced energy levels
  • Gastro-intestinal problems
  • Increased general pain or discomfort
  • Less efficient motor control
  • Pain or stiffness in joints (similar to osteoarthritis)
  • Problems with joint areas, including a loss of flexibility)
  • Unusually tight muscles

Here’s some steps to consider that may help prevent these symptoms from developing:

  • Consider a motorized wheelchair if walking becomes too difficult
  • Swimming is particularly good exercise for someone experiencing these symptoms. It places less strain and pressure on the joints and increases blood flow and flexibility.
  • Do what you can to help your loved one avoid or reduce high levels of pressure or stress
  • Take steps to help your loved one spend significant amounts of time out of the wheelchair
  • Help your loved one stay as fit as possible and maintain a proper weight
  • Make sure that the wheelchair seating promotes good posture
  • Do stretching exercise to help loosen tight muscles and prevent inflexibility. Introduce new forms of stretching exercises regularly.
  • Remember that changes related to aging do not always occur and do not have to occur prematurely.

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