March is CP Awareness Month

Blog: March is CP Awareness Month

Celebrated since 2006, National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month and CP Awareness Day on March 25 provide opportunities to educate members of the public about CP and to show support for individuals with this relatively common movement disorder.

As a reminder, United Cerebral Palsy defines CP as “a number of disorders affecting body movement, posture and muscle coordination. Caused by damage to one or more specific areas of the brain, CP usually occurs during fetal development; before, during or shortly after birth; during infancy; or during early childhood.”

There is no cure for CP, but most people with the condition make progress with a combination of medication, therapies and surgeries. Below we explain established and emerging treatments.

Medications frequently used to treat CP include onabotulinumtoxinA (Botox) by injection, or baclofen ((Fleqsuvy, Ozobax, Lyvispah), tizanidine (Zanaflex), diazepam (Valium, Diazepam Intensol) or dantrolene (Dantrium) which all help to relax tight muscles. 

Physical therapy
PT for individuals with CP typically involves exercises that build strength, balance and flexibility and encourage mobility and motor development. Some PTs may recommend braces to help stretch muscles and increase mobility. 

Occupational therapy
OT helps individuals with CP increase their independence by teaching new ways of doing everyday tasks. 

Speech/Language therapy
Since some people with CP experience communication challenges, speech/language therapists work on improving individuals’ communication skills either by helping them to speak more clearly, by using sign language or by utilizing communication devices such as the ones sold by Enabling Devices 

Recreation therapy
Recreation therapy such as therapeutic horseback riding, and other adapted sports can build motor skills, social skills and physical fitness. 

In some cases, children with CP can benefit from surgery. Most commonly, children undergo surgeries that lengthen their muscles and tendons or correct placement of spine, hips or limbs. 

Stem cell treatment
In recent years, scientists have been studying the use of stem cells as a treatment for CP. The use of umbilical cord stem cells to improve movement and mobility seems particularly promising. According to the Parent’s Guide to Cord Blood Foundation, “ a 2023 meta-analysis of multiple trials showed that there is statistically significant benefit from cord blood therapy for cerebral palsy.”

Intensive targeted therapies
As reported by Anne Mancour at, a study by scientists at Burke Neurological Institute found that when provided in an intensive manner, HABIT (Hand-Arm Bimanual Intensive Training) or CIMT (constraint-induced movement therapy), two commonly used upper body therapies, “can lead to long-term improvements in hand and arm function in children” with unilateral spastic CP. 

According to Business Wire, “SCiPTM is a non-invasive spinal electrical neuromodulation device which provides transcutaneous spinal cord neuro-stimulation to potentially treat the underlying neurological dysfunction in pediatric patients with CP.” Recently, the FDA provided SpineX Inc., the company that created SciP, funding to complete clinical trials in children with CP. The device has shown great promise in helping individuals with CP improve their motor functioning. As one mom stated: “The gains my daughter made with SCiP therapy were huge compared to anything else we had tried previously.”