Although spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy can affect mobility and mental health, your healthcare team is there to support you in finding solutions for your lifestyle.

Spastic quadriplegia is a common form of quadriplegia. It affects both arms and both legs and can also affect the face and stomach. It causes stiff and atypical movements that are difficult to control in all affected areas. Most people with this form of cerebral palsy are unable to walk independently.

The symptoms of spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy are typically more severe than other types of cerebral palsy. The exact symptoms a person experiences will vary. Common symptoms include:

  • rapid muscle contractions
  • muscle stiffness
  • pain in the arms and legs
  • arm and leg weakness
  • rigid and immobile joints
  • difficulty walking
  • difficulty speaking and communicating
  • an uncontrolled crossing of the legs at the knees called “limb scissoring”
  • difficulty holding small objects
  • difficulty swallowing
  • cognitive difficulties
  • gastrointestinal complications
  • seizures

Does spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy get worse with age?

Cerebral palsy isn’t progressive. It doesn’t worsen as a person ages. But cerebral palsy can be hard on the body and‌ lead to premature age. Sometimes, this can mean tasks such as walking and self-care get harder with time.

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The specifics of a treatment plan for spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy depend on the person and the severity of symptoms. Treatment can change over a person’s life as their needs and symptoms change.

Treatment often includes:

  • Physical therapy: Physical therapy helps people with spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy gain flexibility and range of motion.
  • Occupational therapy: Occupational therapy teaches the skills people need to be independent at home, work, school, and within the community. Therapists can show people with cerebral palsy how techniques, such as the use of assistive devices, can help them manage daily tasks.
  • Speech therapy: Speech therapists can help broaden communication skills. It can also address any difficulties with swallowing.
  • Medications: Muscle relaxers are a common medication for spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy because they can help lower muscle stiffness.
  • Surgery: There are surgical options that can help treat spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy. For instance, a surgery called selective dorsal rhizotomy can help relax the muscles for the relief of some symptoms. Additional surgeries can correct spinal curvatures or interrupt nerve signals that are causing uncontrolled movements.
  • Assistive devices: The use of assistive devices, including wheelchairs and other mobility aids, can help increase independence for people with spastic quadriplegic palsy.

The exact cost and coverage for spastic quadriplegic cerebral care depend on factors such as your location, your insurance company, and your specific plan. Additionally, some plans might cover certain services, but not others.

It’s also important to take note of costs that will be billed to you even if you do have coverage, such as any remaining deductible or copayment amount.

Checking with your insurer is the best way to find out what coverage might be available. You can get started by using the ICD-10 number for spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy, G80.0. This number can help you find coverage in your insurance information.

Does spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy affect life expectancy?

Spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy is associated with a shorter life span than other forms of cerebral palsy.

But individual factors, such as treatments received and response to treatment, can make a big difference. Treatment can significantly increase independence and quality of life for people with spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy.

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Having a lifelong condition, such as spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy, can be isolating. It can be a challenge to manage symptoms, appointments, treatments, and more, along with the responsibilities of daily life.

But there are places you can turn to for support. Cerebral palsy support organizations can connect you with others who can share their success stories, provide tips and guidance, help you navigate care, and more.

You can check out:

  • The Cerebral Palsy Research Network (CPRN): The CPRN hosts community forums where you can connect with others, in-person programming, an online resource library, and more.
  • The Cerebral Palsy Foundation (CFP): The CFP offers advocacy opportunities, educational materials, and a wealth of other resources for the cerebral palsy community.
  • The United Cerebral Palsy (UCP): The UCP can help you navigate your healthcare, find housing, arrange medical transportation, receive assistive technology, and more.

Spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy is a severe form of cerebral palsy that affects all four limbs. People with this form of cerebral palsy often experience symptoms such as difficulty walking, muscle stiffness, uncontrolled muscle contractions, joint inflexibility, and difficulty communicating.

Treatment can help increase independence and expand abilities. Common treatment options include physical, occupational, and speech therapy, along with muscle-relaxing medications, assistive devices, and surgery.