The Effects of Paralysis on Cerebral Palsy Sufferers

March 19, 2019
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About half a million Americans have cerebral palsy. What is this chronic health condition and how does it affect people? We’re going to take a closer look at this debilitating condition that commonly causes paralysis. By discussing the effects that this condition has on patients, we will help you to see that you are not alone and that you can learn to cope and improve your quality of life.

What Is Cerebral Palsy?

Cerebral Palsy occurs due to damage to certain parts of the brain or because of abnormal development of these components that control posture, balance, and movement. There are three types of cerebral palsy:

  • Spastic – Most patients have this type of palsy, which results in stiff muscles that are difficult to move. In some cases, both legs are affected causing the knees to turn inward or even to cross. Having one side of the body or the other affected is also common. Palsy that affects all four limbs can be particularly debilitating and may also result in difficulty controlling the muscles of the mouth.
  • Dyskinetic – This is a full-body palsy that affects about 10-20% of patients. Movements may be uncontrolled and can lead to jerky or rapid motions as well as those that are too slow. Sitting, walking, and even speaking can be difficult.
  • Ataxic – This is the least common palsy. It affects coordination and balance. As a result, the patient may develop an odd gait. Tasks that require a great deal of coordination, such as writing, may be particularly difficult.

Statistics Regarding How Cerebral Palsy Affects a Person’s Life

According to cerebalpalsy.org, there are a number of common ways that cerebral palsy patients suffer the effects of this condition. Here are a few of the most common:

  • One-third cannot walk
  • One-quarter cannot talk
  • 1 in 15 cannot eat
  • 20% drool
  • 4% are deaf
  • 1 in 10 are blind
  • 25% have bowel and bladder control issues

The majority of these issues are related to muscle control problems and paralysis.

Individually Unique, but in this Together

One thing that can make cerebral palsy patients feel lonely is that every case is different. So even though there are half a million people in the US who have the same condition as you, it likely manifests in a different way, at least a little. The timing and exact location of the damage determine the extent of the effects.

Since the brain does not heal the way that most other parts of the body do, the condition is considered permanent, and treatments are designed to help improve quality of life rather than reversing the damage in any way. There are a number of different approaches depending on the degree and type of palsy a person suffers from. For example, there may be technology that can help, or you may benefit from certain therapies, medications, or surgical procedures.

At the same time, paralysis is a very common problem globally, and regardless of the reason or extent of your paralysis, you should know that there are people all over the planet who are thriving despite the challenges and you can too!  

Inspirational Cerebral Palsy Stories

While not everyone with cerebral palsy will become a celebrity, Josh Blue was able to turn his ailment into a lucrative career. He decided that the best way to cope with his condition was to make light of it as a stand-up comedian. He went on to win the 4th season of the show Last Comic Standing and was also able to play for the US Paralympic Soccer Team.

However, MR. Blue’s most important accomplishment is that he is successfully raising his son and daughter as a single parent. That alone is proof that you can enjoy some of the most important things in life despite paralysis.

Lee Ridley is another famous comedian with cerebral palsy. However, his disability makes the feat even more impressive since Mr. Ridley is unable to speak. He was able to compete on season 12 of Britain’s Got Talent and won with his routine entitled Lost Voice Guy. He uses an iPad voice synthesizer app, which he preprograms with his stand-up routine.

But like Mr. Blue, Mr. Ridley has other personal accomplishments besides just being a famous comic. Lee Ridley is a journalism undergrad and has a master’s degree in online journalism. So never feel that your paralysis is an impediment to learning. You may have to work harder than everyone else, but that will just make the end results even better.

Not Just Living with Paralysis – Thriving with Paralysis

There is hope for those who have paralysis. While there is no magical source of relief from the effects of cerebral palsy and other paralysis causes, there are still ways to thrive, to enjoy your family, to get an education, to have a career, and to live your best life! The first step is recognizing that you have a purpose.

Thriving with Paralysis is here to share inspirational stories, to help paralysis patients and caregivers during the search for greater purpose, and to offer you a safe haven where positive and encouraging thoughts prevail. Be sure to check our blog and other resources regularly as we continue to grow and spread hope to the millions of paralysis patients around the world. Paralysis doesn’t have to define your life. There is a better way. Let us help you learn to thrive with paralysis.

Also, I want to encourage you to check out our Free E-Books by clicking the images below:

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About the Author: Bill Davis

Dr. Bill Davis survived a spinal cord injury on November 26, 2011. After years of hopelessness he found a renewed purpose and is now on a mission to share hope and healing with the paralysis community for the glory of God.

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