What is Cerebral Palsy?
Cerebral Palsy (CP) is an umbrella term covering a group of non-progressive, but often changing, motor impairment syndromes secondary to an insult to the brain arising in the early stages of development.
CP therefore isn't a particular disease or illness. The term simply means a physical condition that affects movement, as a result of an injury to the brain.
CP is the most common cause of childhood physical disability with a total of 2-2.5 in every 1000 live born children in the UK developing the condition.
The benefits of The Bambach for Cerebral Palsy
- Limbs are in a mid-range position which can minimise abnormal tone.
- Focus on pelvic control maintains an upright stable pelvis in its neutral position. In this position the spine, shoulder girdle, trunk, head and neck can function in their most stable position.
- A clear midline assists balance and symmetry.
- The individual sitting upright is in an active dynamic posture rather than a passive collapsed position.
- Partial weight bearing can be encouraged through to standing.
- Dynamic sitting facilitates muscle activity which ensures the stimulation of normal and symmetrical growth of bone and soft tissue.
- Trunk and head control are easier in the natural position promoted by the Bambach, so that functional activities, such as swallowing and speech are improved.
- Thoracic, abdominal and pelvic spaces are maximized resulting in improved lung and internal organ function and circulation.
- With the upper body stable and free to move in this upright posture, social interaction is a great deal easier.
- Self care activities, such as meals, washing and dressing are also more easily performed.
Bambach understands the problems associated with Cerebral Palsy
- Loss of selective movement and lack of muscle co-ordination
- Difficulty with fine motor skills
- Increased muscle tone and reflexes (spasticity)
- Abnormal muscle tone
- Assymetric gait (walk)
- Decreased co-contraction of muscle groups
- Musculoskeletal problems such as scoliosis, muscle contracture and hip dislocation
The Bambach design and Cerebral Palsy
The Bambach saddle seat was designed by an Australian Occupational Therapist as a result of her observation following years spent working with 'Riding for the Disabled'.
She found that disabled individuals suffering from neurological conditions such as CP often had great difficulty in maintaining a healthy posture and assumed a 'collapsed' or 'slouched' posture when seated in a conventional wheelchair and required considerable support (or strapping) to remain sitting.
These same individuals when sat on horseback were however capable of sitting independently and unsupported and showed remarkably improved functional abilities as a result of being put on a horse on a saddle.