Children with cerebral palsy often have trouble with movement, physical coordination and balance. Hydrotherapy has been used successfully to help improve strength and stability in children with cerebral palsy.
Hydrotherapy is a water-based physiotherapy program. The water offers many advantages to a physiotherapy program. The water takes much of the weight of the child. The buoyancy provided often permits the child more freedom of movement than he or she has on land. Children with cerebral palsy often have stiff and sore joints and exercising in the water can reduce the amount of pain that they experience when exercising.
The water provides resistance against the child’s movement, which helps the child to build strength.
The water helps to hold the child up, preventing the child from falling. This often gives the child more confidence to try new and difficult movements or exercises. The feel of the water provides the child with sensory feedback and tactile stimulation, which may help improve the feeling of touch in some children with cerebral palsy.
Warm water will encourage stiff muscles to relax, which may reduce the spasticity of muscles in some cases.
For toddlers and young children, a hydrotherapy program will likely focus primarily on basic swimming skills so that the children can learn to swim and be safe in the water. The children will first learn how to float and blow bubbles under water and progress from there, according to the skills of each particular child. Once the children master the basics, a hydrotherapy program might begin to incorporate a variety of physiotherapy exercises that are performed in the water.
The physiotherapist might ask the child to perform certain movements, such as walking in the water or moving the arms and legs under the water. Treading water, Pilates-type exercises and deep-water running can help more advanced children to develop strength and coordination.
Hydrotherapy is promoted for children with cerebral palsy as a great form of exercise. Children with cerebral palsy often get less exercise than other children, who spend much of the day walking, running and engaging in physical play. Hydrotherapy can provide children with cerebral palsy with a fun and relaxing form of physical activity.
Hydrotherapy is only one of the many different types of therapy that may help improve the development of a child with cerebral palsy. If your child suffers from cerebral palsy, contact a malpractice lawyer as soon as possible to ensure that you have the funds you need to support your child’s development.