Forums: Community: Skydivers with Disabilities:
Any Cerebral Palsy Experts?


RALFFERS  (Student)

Nov 20, 2007, 3:46 PM
Post #1 of 3 (1540 views)
Any Cerebral Palsy Experts? Can't Post

From what I know about my condition, I can't walk, without the the use of crutches (yet) because the cerebellum - the part of the brain responsible for controlling one's sense of balance does not function correctly. Now, despite the fact that i don't need as much alcohol as a normal person to get a good feeling going, and that the crutches come in handy when you're drunk (Angelic) I could really do without them WinkSmile

That said, I have a good amount of use and mobility in my legs, and since I started working out to be able to jump solo, I thought: "why not take it 1 step further? - what if I could walk without crutches at all... Granted, I'll never walk "normally" but I would be walking on my own nonetheless.

I don't know if this is realistic or not, but what if I could build up enough muscle in my legs to have strength compensate for the lack of a sense of balance. Any thoughts?


Nov 21, 2007, 1:52 AM
Post #2 of 3 (1469 views)
Re: [RALFFERS] Any Cerebral Palsy Experts? [In reply to] Can't Post

Ralffers, I have incomplete paraplegia and like you, use crutches to walk. I also have to use a wheelchair for longer distances - shopping for instance.

My mobility is limited for similar reasons to yours, my balance is extremely poor due to very high tone in my left leg (the right is pretty much ok) and muscular atrophy.

As far as I'm aware the body relies on three things that indicate its going off balance - sight, the inner ear and 'messages' travelling from one's ligaments and tendons (when they are stretched, the brain knows the body is going out of balance which is why athlete's tend to have bad balance with their eyes closed Smile).

To keep in balance, the brain has to tell the correct muscles to contract and the correct ones to relax. With a spinal injury and, as far as I know, CP, the right messages to the right muscles at the right time just aren't sent and/or received. So building muscle alone, as far as I know, won't improve balance. No matter how strong the muscle, if they're not getting the messages, they won't work.

Has your physio put you in a sling on a treadmill? It's a great way to 'teach' legs to walk which is good for improving balance. The other physio equipment that I've found a big help is the wobble board and a gym ball which you could use not only to do exercises with, but also helps if you use it instead of a regular chair - watching TV, eating meals, using PC etc.

The other thing that has helped me to improve enough to using just one crutch is Pilates - the exercise regime that targets your core muscles. This muscle group is soooo important in every action you do and has a very surprising effect on one's walking.

Oh and crutches - He also does canes which could be a possibility for you?

Hope this helps in someway Smile

mailin  (A 46883)

Nov 21, 2007, 5:25 AM
Post #3 of 3 (1456 views)
Re: [RALFFERS] Any Cerebral Palsy Experts? [In reply to] Can't Post

My daughter was recently diagnosed with spastic hemiplegia - her right leg/hand most affected. She's very young but wears splints on her ankles and I find she walks more with that support than not. She's in intensive physical therapy and I find that the day after she has therapy she hardly walks at all... I would think that 'over doing it' from physical perspective would cause fatigue.

CP isn't going to 'get better' but how you adapt to it does.

My daughter will walk with a cane (as only one side is affected) and will probably always have a severe limp. Running? Doubtful. Her coordination at this point in time is very incomplete and she won't be jumping up and down for a long time.

With that said... CP is not a muscle problem, its a brain problem. You can build up a ton of muscle and still have problems because its how the brain 'talks' to the muscle that is the problem.

Have you been through PT lately? Do you have access to anything other than crutches for assistance? They have amazing tools to help CP people now - my eyes have been opened wide lately and I'm impressed.


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