Can Physiotherapy Improve the Symptoms of Cerebral Palsy?


Physiotherapy is the highly recommended early intervention to minimise future complications when children are diagnosed with cerebral palsy (CP) from an early age.

What is Cerebral Palsy?

What exactly is CP? Cerebral palsy is a neurological disorder that affects body movement and muscle coordination, making daily activities a struggle. This is due to damage or abnormality to the brain during development, usually occurring before or during birth, or within the first few years of life. The severity of cerebral palsy varies from person to person, with some individuals experiencing mild symptoms, while others may have more severe impairments.

Children with cerebral palsy may face challenges in various areas, including walking, sitting, speaking, and performing everyday tasks. These challenges can significantly impact their independence and overall quality of life. However, with the right intervention and support, children can overcome many obstacles and lead fulfilling lives.

What are the most common challenges for children with Cerebral Palsy?

Children with cerebral palsy face a range of challenges that can affect their physical and emotional well-being. Motor impairments associated with cerebral palsy often result in difficulties with movement, limited range of motion, balance, coordination, stiffness, and muscle control. Often, we see rigidity and difficulty in control of muscles (spasticity), weakness of both upper and lower limbs as well as speech and swallowing difficulties. These challenges can make it challenging for children to perform simple tasks such as sitting, standing, walking, and even holding objects.

All these symptoms cause limited ability to use muscles to function such as sitting, standing, and walking. When CP affects the upper limbs, it can result in difficulty in writing and self-feeding which also affects developmental delay.

In addition to the physical difficulties, children with cerebral palsy may also experience pain, discomfort, and fatigue due to their condition. This can further impact their ability to participate in activities, interact with their peers, and engage in daily routines. The frustration and limitations caused by these challenges can lead to decreased self-esteem, social isolation, and a sense of helplessness.

Can physiotherapy treat Cerebral Palsy?

Yes, with the right treatment, symptoms can improve! We focus on improving motor function, enhancing mobility, and promoting overall physical development. Through a combination of exercises, stretches, and therapeutic techniques, we can help children with cerebral palsy build strength, improve flexibility, enhance balance, and develop better coordination. We also work closely with parents and families to develop personalised treatment plans that address specific goals and needs.

Physiotherapy techniques for Cerebral Palsy

When we treat children with CP, we use a variety of techniques and interventions tailored to the specific needs of each child. The choice of techniques depends on factors such as:
• the child’s age
• severity of the condition and
• individual goals

One commonly used technique is therapeutic exercises. These exercises focus on improving muscle strength, range of motion, and overall physical functioning. We use various exercises that target specific muscle groups, helping them build strength and coordination.

Another effective technique is stretching. Stretching exercises help improve flexibility and reduce muscle tightness. These stretches target specific muscle groups, promote a better range of motion, and reduce the risk of contractures.

Balance training is another essential component of physiotherapy. Through balance exercises and coordination drills, we help children develop better control over their movements, enhancing stability and reducing the risk of falls.

In some cases, we recommend assistive devices, specialised bracing, splinting, and other orthotics such as AFOs ankle foot orthosis, knee bracing, and hand/wrist bracing. They support the child’ mobility and independence, can maintain proper alignment, improve posture, and enhance overall functionality.

Creating a personalised physiotherapy plan

Every child with cerebral palsy is unique, and their physiotherapy plan should reflect their individual needs and goals.

We always start with a comprehensive assessment. We evaluate the child’s current abilities, strengths, and challenges. We also consider the child’s goals and the family’s priorities. Based on this assessment, we develop a treatment plan that addresses specific areas of concern and outlines the interventions to be implemented.

The treatment plan may include a combination of therapeutic exercises, stretching routines, balance training, and the use of assistive devices. We show children and their parents how to perform these exercises correctly, and we may also recommend home exercises and activities to complement the physio sessions.

Regular monitoring and reassessment are crucial to track the child’s progress and make any necessary adjustments to the treatment plan.


Why is it important to start physiotherapy early?

Early intervention is key when it comes to physiotherapy for children with cerebral palsy. The earlier the intervention begins, the greater the potential for positive outcomes. When children start physiotherapy early, they can minimise complications, promote optimal physical development, and prevent secondary issues that may arise due to the child’s motor impairments. They also have a better chance to achieve their developmental milestones and acquire essential skills. Early interventions can help improve muscle tone, prevent contractures, and promote better motor control.

Early physiotherapy also provides an opportunity to educate parents and caregivers on how to support their child’s physical development and incorporate therapeutic activities into their daily routine. This holistic approach ensures that the child receives consistent support and reinforcement both in the clinic and at home.

How to find the right physiotherapist for children with Cerebral Palsy?

When you are seeking physiotherapy services for children with cerebral palsy, it is essential to find experienced and knowledgeable professionals who specialise in pediatric physiotherapy. Consider the therapist’s reputation (check Google reviews), the qualifications of the physiotherapists, and the range of services offered. In-home visiting physiotherapists – just like Physio Visit Care’s physios – might be a good idea too as the child is getting the treatment in their familiar environment, and that can enhance the progress of the treatment.

Additionally, seek recommendations from other parents or healthcare professionals who have experience with pediatric physiotherapy. They can provide valuable insights and guide you toward reputable physiotherapy services.

Conclusion: why is physiotherapy important for children with Cerebral Palsy?

Physiotherapy plays a key role in empowering children with cerebral palsy to overcome challenges and improve their quality of life. Through a range of techniques and exercises, physiotherapy helps improve muscle strength, flexibility, balance, and coordination, enhancing the child's overall functionality and independence.

Physiotherapy not only has physical benefits but also boosts the child’s confidence and self-esteem, fostering a sense of empowerment and accomplishment. By providing personalised treatment plans and ongoing support, physiotherapists enable children with cerebral palsy to thrive, overcome limitations, and embrace a brighter future.

As we have worked with children with CP, we have seen that with early intervention and the right physiotherapy services, children with cerebral palsy can achieve remarkable milestones, build new skills, and lead fulfilling lives. Physiotherapy unlocks their potential, giving them the tools to navigate the challenges imposed by their condition and embrace a world of possibilities.

Reach out to our specialised physios and book your appointment today!


Providing high quality care and physiotherapy treatment for patients that require therapy in the comfort of their own homes.
  • 0403 779 784
  • Fairfield - Liverpool - Casula - Prestons - Wetherill Park - Ingleburn Campbeltown - Blacktown © 2024 All rights reserved.