Cerebral palsy (CP) treatment

Cerebral palsy treatment

There is no cure for cerebral palsy (CP). However, long-term care can be beneficial in managing symptoms. Medications may be prescribed to decrease muscle tightness, treat pain and spasticity and improve functional abilities. These include Botox injections and muscle relaxants, such as diazepam (Valium) and baclofen (Gablofen).

Physical, occupational, speech and language, and recreational therapy can also be beneficial in improving functional abilities. In some cases, surgery may be recommended to decrease muscle tightness or correct bone abnormalities.

Researchers are currently investigating stem cell therapy as a treatment for cerebral palsy. This may be a possible treatment option in the future.  

Our approach

The Northwell Health Neuroscience Institute offers leading edge treatment for cerebral palsy. Because many individuals with cerebral palsy require long-term care, we offer a multi-disciplinary approach with a comprehensive team that may include:

  • Pediatricians
  • Pediatric neurologists
  • Physical therapists
  • Occupational therapists
  • Speech language pathologists
  • Social workers

Cerebral palsy treatment risks

It’s important to discuss the risks of medications and other treatments for cerebral palsywith your doctor. The type of medication prescribed will depend on whether the spasticity affects only certain muscles (isolated) or the entire body (generalized).

Some medications prescribed to treat spasticity, such as diazepam, can result in dependency. They are typically not recommended for long-term use. Other medications have side effects that include:

  • Sleepiness
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Confusion

Cerebral palsy post-treatment

Because there is no cure for cerebral palsy, treatment goals include maximizing function and minimizing painful symptoms. It’s important to work with your healthcare team on an ongoing basis to modify treatment as necessary.