Pain Management and Cerebral Palsy

Pain Management and Cerebral Palsy

Treating Children in Chronic Pain must be Handled by Experts

Despite tremendous strides in the treatment of children with cerebral palsy (CP) over the last several decades, the research on the pain such children experience is extremely sparse. Even for children who do not suffer from the condition, evaluating and responding to pediatric pain is a persistent challenge for doctors. Children, typically, cannot articulate their feelings or describe their physical pain. Even for adults, describing physical pain can be difficult. The normal challenges of studying pain are exacerbated for children with CP because, in many cases, the child has above average difficulties with communication.

CP can result in extreme pain in the affected area of the body but can also lead to secondary pain that develops as a result of the initial medical ailment. For instance, a child with CP may not have control of their legs and may rotate them uncontrollably. This may lead to overuse of hip flexors that are not directly impacted by the condition but nonetheless ache from repeated and abnormal use. Children may also suffer dislocations and early onset degenerative arthritis. Some of the pain associated with CP may be chronic and part of a child's every waking moment while other pain may be acute: sharp and intense but may last an indeterminate amount of time.

While many pharmacological agents have been developed to treat abnormal muscle contraction, control epilepsy, and to reduce contractures, there is not a particular pain medication specifically developed for children with CP. Baclofen, benzodiazepines, dantrolene, and botox are often used to treat symptoms of CP but common pain management drugs can interact with such drugs in adverse ways. Also, many of the treatments for alleviating the symptoms of CP may have long-term benefits but may also involve the need for short-term pain management, orthotic management, physical and occupational therapy and, of course, surgery, may require intensive programs designed for pain management. Though some of this treatment may only be necessary in the short-term, for many patients with CP, a long-term pain management regiment is essential for their entire lives. Pain management specialists are essential in these extremely complicated medical circumstances.

Pain and Injuries Associated with Cerebral Palsy

Pain is often localized in the ankles, hips, legs and back since these areas are often put under tremendous strain due to ankle clonuses, posture issues, and spinal pressure from abnormal sitting and standing positions. Some of the associated disabilities and malformations can lead to nerve entrapment or nerve compression. This can also lead to intense pain. Injuries and pain that are common for people with cerebral palsy include

The above is only a very brief overview of the many types of pain and injuries that children and adults with CP are susceptible to. In addition, constipation, depression, hypertension and a host of other issues are also quite common. Medical research is quite conclusive that children with CP have a higher incidence of trouble with sleeping than children who do not have the condition. The sleeping difficulties may involve initiating or maintaining sleep. Some research suggests that chronic and acute pain may be related to these sleep issues.

If your child has CP and has trouble sleeping, seems to be in pain, has experienced seizures, joint contractures or any of the other signs associated with this disorder, you need to identify the leading experts who can give your child the help they need. If your child's CP was the result of medical malpractice or negligence or if you do not know the reason why your child developed this condition, contact the legal and medical team at Michels & Lew. We may be able to offer the assistance you need.