types of cerebral palsy and symptoms

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types of cerebral palsy

Cerebral palsy (CP) is a collection of motor issues and physical disorders that stem from abnormal brain development or brain injury and this might happen during foetal growth, at birth time, or in the initial 2 or 3 years of the life of a child. The brain injury that triggers this condition doesn’t worsen over time, however, symptoms may begin, change or turn out to be severe as a kid grows. 

Cerebral palsy influences the muscles of a side or part of the body and at times the total body too. Muscle tightness and uncontrolled reflex movements happen with varying severity. Physical issues of this condition range from mild to severe. People who have a severe form of cerebral palsy are likely to possess other issues like intellectual disability or seizures. At times, the exact root cause of this condition is known like when brain damage happens as a result of head injury or serious infection. In several cases, the exact root cause is unknown. Here are some of the cerebral palsy types

types of cerebral palsy

Spastic cerebral palsy

This is the most common type of cerebral palsy. An individual who suffers from this condition cultivates tight muscles in certain parts of their body that cannot be relaxed. Affected joints turn out to be stiff and very hard to move. Typically, an individual has issues controlling movements, bad coordination and balance, and trouble eating and talking. 

There are 4 types of spastic cerebral palsy that are grouped in relation to how many limbs are influenced by the condition. 

Hemiplegia or diplegia:

One leg and one arm on the same part of the body (hemiplegia) or both legs (paraplegia or diplegia) are affected. These are the common types. 


Here, one leg or arm is affected.


Both legs and both arms are affected. Typically the muscles and the trunk that control the tongue, mouth, and windpipe are influenced too. This makes talking and eating difficult. Children with this condition may;

  • Have issues swallowing and sucking.
  • Have a shrill or weak cry.
  • Have a floppy and relaxed body or a stiff body. When you hold them, they might arch the back and extend the legs and arms. 
  • They may be jittery and irritable when awake. They might startle easily.
  • They might sleep more or show very little interest in what’s happening around them. 


This condition involves one leg and both arms or one arm and both legs. 

Nonspastic cerebral palsy

The nonspastic types of cerebral palsy incorporate dyskinetic cerebral palsy (further divided into dystonic and athetoid forms) and ataxic cerebral palsy.

Dyskinetic cerebral palsy

This is linked with muscle tone that varies between being tight and loose. In certain cases, jerky and rapid or uncontrolled sluggish continuous movements happen involuntarily. These movements often affect the neck and face, hands, arms, feet, legs, and at times the torso.

Athetoid cerebral palsy 

The traits of the athetoid cerebral palsy variety include limp and relaxed muscles during sleep, with involuntary jerking or writhing. If the mouth and face muscles are affected, issues might develop in relation to odd facial expressions, choking when drinking, sucking, and eating.

With dystonic cerebral palsy, the neck and body are held in a very stiff position.

Ataxic cerebral palsy

Ataxic cerebral palsy is the most unusual cerebral palsy type that involves the whole body. Uncharacteristic body movements affect the hands, trunk, legs and arms. Ataxic cerebral palsy causes issues with;

  • Balance
  • Precise movements – For instance, the individual might reach too close or too far to touch objects and might have bad hand control. 
  • Coordination – An individual with ataxic cerebral palsy might walk with their feet abnormally far apart.
  • Hand control – Often merely one hand can reach for any object while the other one might shake when trying to move it. The individual might not be capable of buttoning their clothes, using a pair of scissors or even writing down something. 

Mixed cerebral palsy

Some kids have signs of different types of cerebral palsy. For instance, spastic legs [signs of spastic diplegic cerebral palsy] and issues with muscle control on the face [signs of dyskinetic CP] might both develop. Entire body cerebral palsy influences the total body to a certain degree. 

Problems of cerebral palsy and various other medical issues are likely to grow when the whole body is included rather than separate parts. This is called mixed cerebral palsy. Total body cerebral palsy might incorporate any of the following:

  • Dyskinetic CP
  • Spastic quadriplegic CP
  • Ataxic CP

Physiotherapy exercises have been shown to help treat and avoid injuries and pain related to numerous diseases. The physiotherapy experts at Portea help with basic and advanced movement exercises to enhance the mobility of the patient. They visit the patient’s home and treat them at their convenience. 

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