What Is Spastic Hemiplegia, and How Can You Treat it?

In cerebral palsy, spastic hemiplegia is the most prevalent kind. One-half of their body experiences symptoms as a result; you may feel discomfort, stiffness in your muscles, and loss of control over your muscles.

The most prevalent kind of cerebral palsy, a chronic illness that impairs muscle coordination and movement, is spastic hemiplegia.

Although there isn't a cure, medication can lessen symptoms and stop problems. Your physician may suggest bracing, medication, physical therapy, or assistive technology.

On one side of the body, weakness and muscle spasms are referred to as spastic hemiplegia. Thus, although cerebral palsy is one of the causes, other illnesses including stroke and severe brain injury also contribute. This essay will concentrate on cerebral palsy-related spastic hemiplegia.

What is it?

When cerebral palsy affects one-half of the body, it is known as spastic hemiplegia. It results in varying degrees of muscular weakness and loss of control. Tight or stiff muscles are referred to as spastic.

Similar to all forms of cerebral palsy, spastic hemiplegia is not progressive but rather persistent. This indicates that while the illness is chronic, it may not always worsen with time.


One side of the body is affected by the symptoms of spastic hemiplegia. These symptoms can differ from person to person, and some people may experience more severe symptoms than others.

Since cerebral palsy is usually diagnosed in childhood, development-related symptoms are common in this population. Symptoms to watch out for consist of:
  • delayed walking
  • delayed developmental milestones
  • walking on toes
  • retaining a fistful of one hand
  • favouring one side of the body or one hand
  • difficulty walking
  • stiff muscles
  • awkward motions
  • muscle pain
  • difficulty using scissors
  • difficulty writing
With minimal symptoms, some children with spastic hemiplegia may be able to walk, run, and take care of themselves on their own.

Some kids, though, might experience more severe symptoms. They could require assistance with daily duties and the use of a wheelchair.


When the motor cortex of the brain is damaged, spastic hemiplegia results. This may occur as a result of a hereditary disorder or an event, such as a brain injury sustained at birth.

Premature birth can occasionally result in the baby's brain getting less oxygen than it requires. The result could be spastic hemiplegia.

Other potential reasons are as follows:
  • the pregnant mother is unwell
  • infections in infants, such as cytomegalovirus
  • difficulties with pregnancy or delivery
  • untreated jaundice, skin and eye yellowing


A visit to the physician is the initial step towards a diagnosis of spastic hemiplegia. Together with a comprehensive medical history and physical examination, they will also prescribe additional testing.

Your paediatrician will inquire about your child's motor skills, nutrition, growth milestones, and other aspects you may have noticed in them.

Testing will likely include:
  • Imaging tests: To get a clear picture of any damage, doctors can observe the brain and brainwaves with the use of tests like MRIs, CT scans, and ultrasounds.
  • Developmental screenings: Testing for problems including learning, speech, intellectual, and developmental disorders can assist in determining a child's baseline and help rule out conditions like those.
  • Reflex tests: Infants are frequently subjected to a reflex test to observe how they react to stimuli.
  • Lumbar puncture: A lumbar puncture is a test in which spinal fluid is extracted using a needle inserted into the base of the spine.
  • Blood tests: Blood tests will be ordered by your physician to examine metabolic and genetic factors.

Treatment and management

Although there isn't a cure for spastic hemiplegia, symptoms can be managed with medication, which can enhance quality of life. The specific course of treatment will be determined by each patient's needs, although it will typically involve a mix of different therapies.

Typical therapeutic choices consist of:
  • Physical therapy: Strength and balance issues as well as increased independence with daily duties can be resolved with physical therapy.
  • Speech therapy: Speech therapy is helpful for activities including eating, swallowing, and speaking.
  • Occupational therapy: Occupational therapy can impart skills that will make daily tasks like brushing your teeth, taking a shower, and taking care of your hair easier.
  • Mobility devices: Mobility can be enhanced with wheelchairs, canes, walkers, and other equipment.
  • Medications: Some of the signs and symptoms of spastic hemiplegia can be controlled with medication. Usually, this involves drugs that can ease the spasms in the muscles.
  • Splinting or braces: Limbs can be kept stable and supported with the use of bracing and splinting.
  • Botox injections: Another alternative for helping to relax muscles is Botox.
  • Deep brain stimulation: Electrodes that can aid in controlling motor function are inserted into the brain during this course of treatment.
  • Surgery: Surgery can be helpful in certain situations. Dorsal rhizotomy and orthopaedic surgery are two examples.


Being a chronic illness, spastic hemiplegia is a lifelong condition. But since it isn't progressive, it doesn't deteriorate over time.

Growth spurts can occasionally cause some challenges for kids with spastic hemiplegia, but this doesn't always mean that the illness has gotten worse.

But it's crucial to be mindful of any potential issues that can arise. Look out for:
  • fractures
  • scoliosis (curvature of the spine)
  • aspiration pneumonia (inhaling food or liquids into the lungs)
  • osteoporosis (low bone density)
  • chronic pain

The bottom line

The most common kind of spastic cerebral palsy is spastic hemiplegia. It denotes the presence of symptoms like discomfort, stiffness, weakness, and lack of control in one side of the body's muscles.

It can make it challenging to write, walk, and perform other tasks on your own.

Physical, occupational, and speech therapy, medicine, injections, assistive devices, and splits are some of the treatments that can help control symptoms and lower the risk of problems.

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