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Study: Many young people with cerebral palsy suffer chronic pain

Cerebral palsy is a condition that affects many young people in the United States. It is often caused by a birth injury or otherwise abnormal development in the immature brain, according to the Mayo Clinic. The first symptoms of cerebral palsy occur right away, often during infancy or toddler years. Parents may notice impaired movement, abnormal posture, involuntary movement or trouble walking.

Intellectual disabilities are also common among people with cerebral palsy, as are vision and hearing problems and seizures. According to a new study published this month in the medical journal Pediatrics, more than 25 percent of young people with cerebral palsy also live with moderate to severe chronic pain. Sadly, this pain often goes unrecognized and untreated, the study found.

For the study, researchers asked the physicians, parents and caregivers of more than 250 individuals ages 3 to 19 who have cerebral palsy about their experiences with pain.

One of the researchers on the study said that the results show the importance of talking to children with cerebral palsy about the pain they are feeling, although communication can often be difficult. For that reason, the researchers said that medical providers should be knowledgable on the common causes of pain in people with cerebral palsy as well as available treatment options.

Today, there are many treatments available that may be able to improve the functional abilities in people with cerebral palsy. However, the treatments can be expensive. Luckily, Supplemental Security Income may be available to help support families with children who suffer from cerebral palsy. Additionally, this is one of the conditions for which the Social Security Administration allows for SSI payments to be made immediately while the state agency makes a decision in the case.

Source: Disability Scoop, "Study: 1 In 4 With Cerebral Palsy In Pain," Michelle Diament, July 26, 2013

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