Complementary and Alternative Medicine for Cerebral Palsy

The Scottish proverb, "were it not for hope, the heart would break" can apply to the parents of children with cerebral palsy. These parents may grasp at any intervention that promises to reverse some of the debilitating effects of the disorder. While many forms of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) are harmless, others have significant adverse effects. In addition, it's all too easy for parents to invest precious time, money, and energy in unproved therapies while neglecting the basics.

As a nurse working with this population, it's important to focus on the official statement from UCP, the national organization devoted to the treatment and prevention of cerebral palsy: “To date, there are no CAM therapies that have been demonstrated scientifically to improve brain function for the control of muscle spasticity or improvement in motor coordination.” While acknowledging that there may be anecdotal evidence for CAM therapies, UCP officials clearly identify the following modalities as unsanctioned, unproved treatments:

Please visit the NINDs website and access the following specific information on "What Specific Treatments Are Available?: Physical, Behavioral, and Other Therapies"


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UCP supports a number of complementary and alternative therapies for children with CP.