Cerebral Palsy Email Exchange


[B]Hello dear folks,
I hope you’re well. Has anyone worked successfully with students/clients with cerebral palsy or can refer me to someone who has? I have a potential client and would like to do some research before seeing her. It sounds like the work I do could be helpful but this isn’t something I’m trained in and my experience is mostly with people in chronic pain. Any help would be appreciated.

best regards and love,

I see people with CP once in a while for hand/arm rehabilitation following a surgery to help decrease excess tone in their arms. There are different types of CP. One type is that they tend to have a lot of flexion in their arms at shoulder, elbows , wrist and fingers. The muscles work in groups, (patterns of movement) and usually respond to slow sustained stretch, so holding postures would be good, but moving quickly into postures would make the tone worse (tighten up into more flexion). Observe the general range of motion. Formal muscle testing will probably make the flexors more tight. Observe how the person walks: how does the person hold the arms, and how do the legs move; is the spine symmetrical? If the person is in a wheelchair, or seated in a regular chair, how is the person sitting; can the person sit in the chair at a better angle, more symmetrical; the person will usually lean to the weak side. There are different categories of CP, so there may be mild tone, or as the person moves, the arm may move in a jerky (ataxic) pattern, or there may be tremors or severe tone. I have not done formal SYT with this group, but I have some suggestions for you.

  1. Ask your client what s/he hopes to accomplish with SYT. What are her/his goals?

  2. Can the person get on and off the floor without help? If so, supine with bolsters to open up/ stretch torso, if not, modify this in the chair

  3. If person is anxious, stressed, etc various breathing techniques are helpful, and meditation if person is willing.

  4. Be creative and modify the postures in seated position, ie cobra leaning on bent forearms which are resting on the table. Leaning on forearms will help decrease tone in shoulders and help improve spinal extension, and improve breath. Person may need to use strong arm to help move weaker arm into position, and may need to place strong arm on top of weaker arm to help decrease the tone/tremors.

Let me know if any of this helps. Mirabai

I worked with someone with advanced CP. She had spent years in a wheelchair or walking with crutches with arms handles. She responded best to PNF stretching. I met with her twice a week for many months. She reported feeling much better. Her daily meditation practice was already in place and she had a yogic lifestyle. Fasting seemed to be a way for her to get out of acute bouts of pain but obviously could not be a long term solution.