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Cerebral Palsy


Cerebral palsy (CP) is a long-term condition that affects the area of your child's brain that controls muscle movement. Your child may not be able to walk, talk, eat, or play normally.



  • Muscle relaxers: This medicine helps relax your child's muscles. It is also given to decrease pain and muscle spasms.
  • Anticonvulsants: These are used to decrease muscle spasms. They can also help control your child's seizures.
  • Anticholinergics: This medicine may help control your child's abnormal movements.
  • Give your child's medicine as directed: Call your child's primary healthcare provider if you think the medicine is not helping or if he has side effects. Tell your child's primary healthcare provider if your child takes any vitamins, herbs, or other medicines. Keep a list of the medicines he takes. Include the amounts, and when and why he takes them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits.

Follow up with your child's primary healthcare provider or specialists as directed:

Your child may need regular visits to manage his condition and treat his symptoms. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Manage your child's symptoms:

  • Rehabilitation: Physical therapy can teach your child exercises to help improve movement and strength, and to decrease pain. Occupational therapy can teach him skills for daily activities. Speech therapy can improve his speaking and swallowing skills.
  • Supportive devices: Your child may need to wear splints on his hands or ankles. These devices can support and keep your child's hands or ankles in the right position. He may also need to use a scooter or wheelchair.
  • Feed your child a variety of healthy foods: Healthy foods include fruits, vegetables, whole-grain breads, low-fat dairy products, beans, lean meats, and fish. Ask if your child needs to be on a special diet, such as a low-fat diet.
  • Give your child plenty of liquids: Ask how much liquid your child should drink each day and which liquids are best for him. This may help reduce his risk of constipation.

Contact your child's primary healthcare provider or specialist if:

  • You feel you cannot care for your child at home.
  • You have questions about your child's condition or care.

Return to the emergency department if:

  • Your child is not able to eat or drink.
  • Your child has pain that does not go away.
  • Your child has a seizure.

© 2016 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.