Cerebral palsy (CP) is a disorder that affects body movement, posture and balance. It is also known as brain paralysis. It is caused by irregular development or damage due to parts of the brain which control muscle tone and motor movement. The impairments first appear early in life, typically in infancy or early childhood. Infants generally slow to reach growth developmental milestones like rolling over, crawling, sitting, and walking.
Symptoms may include poor muscle tone, muscle stiffness, uncontrolled movements, and problems with balance, posture, coordination, walking, swallowing, speech, mental retardation, breathing problems, seizures, learning disabilities, bowel and bladder control problems, skeletal deformities, dental problems, eating difficulties, digestive problems, and vision and hearing problems. The severity may range from mild to very profound.
Types of brain paralysis
1. Spastic (pyramidal)
Many individuals have normal or above the average intelligence with cerebral palsy. Their ability to direct their intelligence may be partial by difficulties in communicating. Most children with cerebral palsy need significant physical and medical care, including occupational, physical, and speech/swallowing therapy.
The exact cause is somewhat unknown. Certain cerebral palsy results from damage to specific parts of the developing brain.
This damage can occur during early pregnancy when the brain is just about starting or, during the birth process as the child passes through the birth canal, or also may be after birth in the first few years of life. In fact, currently it has been shown that at least 70-80% of cerebral palsy cases start before birth and some after birth.
The Ayurvedic treatment for cerebral palsy emphases on treating the symptoms and endeavoring to reverse the brain damage. Vaidya Health Care Hospital provides ayurvedic treatment for cerebral palsy in kerala. A Group of herbal medicines which are called 'Medhya' used in refining the brains functional capacity and also helps in regeneration of damaged brain cells. These medicines include: Brahmi, Mandukparni, Shankhpushpi, Jyotishmati, Kushmand, Ustukhudoos, Yashtimadhuk, Ashwagandha, Shatavari, Guduchi, Vacha, Haritaki, Abhrak-Bhasma and Suvarna-Bhasma. Some of these medicines are also useful in reducing convulsions.
Medicines which act on 'Majja' dhatu (tissue) are helpful in this condition and may include Guduchi, Amalaki, Musta, Panch-Tikta-Ghrut-Guggulu, Pancha-Gavya-Ghruta and Brahmi-Ghruta. Other medicines include Yograj-Guggulu, Kaishor-Guggulu, Vatagajankush-Ras, Tapyadi-Loh-Ras, Mahavat- Vidhwans-Ras, and Vish-Tinduk-Vati.
Entire body massage with MahaNarayan oil, sahaSaindhav-oil and MahaMash-oil are useful. The Specialized Panchkarma procedures include Shirodhara and Shiro-Basti as well as continued courses of Basti (enemas) is useful in this condition.
Although cerebral palsy cannot be fully cured, Ayurvedic treatment can certainly help to reduce disability and improve the functioning of the affected individual to much greater extent.