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Congenital Hemiplegia

Hemiplegia refers to weakness or paralysis down one side of the body. Another term associated with hemiplegia is “hemiparesis”. The specific definition of hemiparesis means partial weakness, while hemiplegia means complete paralysis. However, many professionals and publications often use the term “hemiplegia” to cover both hemiplegia and hemiparesis. We will also use the overall term “hemiplegia” to cover both types of presentation.

Hemiplegia is caused by damage to the brain. There are many causes of damage to the brain that may result in hemiplegia. An adult who acquired hemiplegia as a child is said to have congenital hemiplegia.

CIMT patient undergoes a problem with the help of his personal physio

As an adult who has lived all or most of their life with hemiplegia there will be a lot of compensatory tactics you will have employed to function in everyday life. Depending on what intervention you had as a child, your weaker arm may never have had the opportunity to reach its potential as you have learned to use your stronger side and used your weaker side less – this is known as learned non-use.

Constraint induced movement therapy has been shown to achieve significant improvements in upper limbs in people with learned non-use, even decades after the damage occurred. Your CIMT therapist will discuss with you in detail about how you currently use your arm in adult life, and what specific goals you may have. Constraint induced movement therapy will not restore your affected arm to be the same as your stronger side, but it could improve your level of function and quality of life.

If you’d like to discuss how CIMT might help you, contact us for a free telephone consultation to speak to one of our CIMT therapists.

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