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Spina Bifida Therapy Options at NAPA Centre

Oct 01st, 2023 | by Eabha Barry

Eabha Barry

October 01st, 2023

What is Spina Bifida?

Spina bifida is a congenital condition in which the spinal cord or its covering does not develop properly. It occurs when the neural tube, which forms the spinal cord and brain, does not close completely during early fetal development. The estimated occurrence of spina bifida varies by region and population, in the United States it is estimated that about 1,500 babies are born with spina bifida each year.

What is the Cause of Spina Bifida?

Spina bifida is a birth defect that occurs when the spine and spinal cord do not form properly. It is primarily caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Some risk factors for spina bifida include a family history of the condition, low intake of folic acid during pregnancy, and certain medications. It is important for pregnant women to take folic acid supplements before and during pregnancy to help reduce the risk of spina bifida in their babies.

What Are Some Characteristics in Children With Spina Bifida?

The severity of symptoms in children with spina bifida can vary widely depending on the type and location of the defect. It is important to note that each child with spina bifida is unique, and symptoms can vary greatly from person to person.

Here are some common characteristics that may be seen in children with spina bifida:

  • Paralysis or weakness in the legs
  • Sensory loss (numbness or loss of feeling) in the legs or feet
  • Orthopaedic issues such as clubfoot or scoliosis
  • Hydrocephalus (accumulation of fluid in the brain)
  • Bladder and bowel control issues
  • Cognitive impairments
  • Chiari malformation (a condition in which brain tissue extends into the spinal canal)
  • Difficulty with fine motor skills

What Are Some Therapy Options for Spina Bifida?

There is currently no cure for spina bifida, but treatment options focus on managing symptoms and providing supportive care. The treatment and therapy options for spina bifida vary depending on the severity of the condition and typically involve a multidisciplinary approach from physiotherapists, occupational therapists, and speech therapists. Physiotherapists work with children to improve their motor skills and help them reach their maximum potential. Occupational therapists assist children with spina bifida in developing skills for daily living activities such as dressing, feeding, and self-care. Therapists can also help in finding adaptive equipment to enhance independence. Additionally, ongoing medical care and monitoring by a multidisciplinary team of specialists, including neurosurgeons, orthopaedic surgeons, and urologists, is usually required to address the complex needs of individuals with spina bifida.

With appropriate treatment and support, many individuals with spina bifida can lead fulfilling and independent lives.

About the Author

Eabha (pronounced Ava) is an Occupational Therapist at NAPA Centre Syndey. Known for her enthusiasm, Eabha is passionate about making therapy sessions enjoyable for children. She believes that incorporating fun into the sessions not only helps engage the children but also enhances their progress. In addition to her professional pursuits, Eabha enjoys exploring and immersing herself in the vibrant city of Sydney. Eabha can be found unwinding by taking long walks along the beach, listening to engaging podcasts, and practising yoga..

About NAPA Centre 

Learn about spina bifida therapy options at NAPA Centre paediatric therapy clinic.NAPA specialises in working with children with physical and neurological delays. In addition to working with children with more common diagnoses such as cerebral palsy and Down syndrome, NAPA has a special interest and expertise with children with rare, multiple and complex conditions. NAPA Centre’s Intensive Model of Therapy (IMOT) is world-renowned, and one of the leading clinics in Australia for paediatric therapy programs with a large multi-discliplinary team of Occupational Therapists, Physiotherapists and Speech Therapists all working together. Families routinely travel from all parts of Sydney, the NSW region, from across Australia and even from the Australasian region to access NAPA’s unique and effective programs for their children.

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