Cerebral Palsy Treatment in Ayurveda
Cerebral palsy is defined as “a group of permanent disorders of the development of movement and posture, causing activity limitation, that are attributed to non-progressive disturbances that occurred in the developing fetal or infant brain. While movement problems are the central feature of CP, other symptoms may include poor coordination, stiff muscles, weak muscles and tremors. There may be problems with sensation, vision and hearing, swallowing and speech. Often babies with cerebral palsy do not roll over, sit, crawl or walk as early as other children of their age. Other symptoms include seizures and problems with thinking or reasoning, which each occur in about one third of people with CP. While symptoms may get more noticeable over the first few years of life, underlying problems do not worsen.
What causes Cerebral palsy ?
Cerebral palsy is caused by damage or abnormal development in the parts of the brain that control movement. These events can happen before, during or shortly after birth or in the first few years of life, when the brain is still developing. In many cases the exact cause of cerebral palsy is not known.
The majority of children with cerebral palsy were born with the condition, a situation called congenital cerebral palsy.
Causes of cerebral palsy that occur before birth include:
- Damage to the white matter of the brain. The brain’s white matter sends signals throughout the brain and the rest of the body. Damage to white matter can disrupt the signals between the brain and the body. The white matter in the fetus’s brain is more sensitive to injury between 26 weeks and 34 weeks of pregnancy, but damage can happen at any time during pregnancy.
- Abnormal brain development. Disruptions in the normal growth process of the brain can cause abnormalities. These abnormalities affect the transmission of brain signals. Infections, fever, trauma or gene changes (mutations) can cause the brain to develop abnormally.
- Bleeding in the brain. A fetus can have a stroke which is a common cause of brain bleeding. Strokes occur when blood vessels in the brain become blocked or broken leading to brain damage. Conditions including blood clotting problems, abnormally formed blood vessels, heart defects and sickle cell disease can also cause bleeding in the brain.
- Lack of oxygen in the brain. The brain can become damaged if it does not get enough oxygen for a long time. Very low blood pressure in the mother, a torn uterus, detachment of the placenta, problems with the umbilical cord or severe trauma to the infant’s head during labor and delivery can prevent oxygen from getting to the brain.
A small number of children have what is called acquired cerebral palsy which means the disorder begins more than 28 days after birth. Causes of acquired cerebral palsy may include:
- Brain damage in the first few months or years of life
- Infections such as meningitis or encephalitis
- Problems with blood flow to the brain due to stroke, blood clotting problems, abnormal blood vessels, a heart defect that was present at birth or sickle cell disease
- Head injury from a car accident, a fall or child abuse
Ayurveda treatments for Cerebral palsy
Ayurveda has shown very good results in patients of cerebral palsy. Ayurvedic treatment can definitely help to reduce disability and improve the functioning of the affected individual to a great extent.
The Ayurvedic treatment protocol can include:
- Chathurbadra Vasthi
- Shastika shali lepanam
The treatments depend on the condition of the patient and may vary on case by case basis.
The selected Ayurvedic treatment modality is effective in relieving the signs and symptoms and thus reducing the disability in children with Spastic CP.
Panchakarma with yoga vasthi are effective in improving growth (height, weight, CC), development (head holding and sitting) and reducing spasticity in patients. These procedures have proved their efficacy in the management of CP.
Udwartanam opens the minute channels and improves blood as well as lymphatic circulation. It is kapha, vata hara and removes aavarana or srotorodha. It provides a platform for further procedures like abhyanga, swedana and vasti. Sarvanga abhyanga, baashpa & naadi sweda reduce spasticity (especially scissoring phenomenon), improves flexibility of joints, improves circulation and reduces pain. Vasti is the major treatment for CP and it improves gross as well as fine motor functions, provides nourishment, improves overall general condition and quality of life in children with CP and panchakarma procedures have proved their efficacy in the management of CP.