Postural muscle dyscoordination in children with cerebral palsy

Neural Plast. 2005;12(2-3):197-203; discussion 263-72. doi: 10.1155/NP.2005.197.


The present paper gives an overview of the knowledge currently available on muscular dyscoordination underlying postural problems in children with cerebral palsy (CP). Such information is a prerequisite for developing successful therapeutic interventions in children with CP. Until now, three children with CP functioning at GMFCS (Gross Motor Function Classification System) level V have been documented. The children totally or partially lacked direction specificity in their postural adjustments and could not sit independently for more than 3 seconds. Some children functioning at GMFCS level IV have intact direction-specific adjustments, whereas others have problems in generating consistently direction-specific adjustments. Children at GMFCS levels I to III have an intact basic level of control but have difficulties in fine-tuning the degree of postural muscle contraction to the task-specific conditions, a dysfunction more prominently present in children with bilateral spastic CP than in children with spastic hemiplegia. The problems in the adaptation of the degree of muscle contraction might be the reason that children with CP, more often than typically developing children, show an excess of antagonistic coactivation during difficult balancing tasks and a preference for cranial-caudal recruitment during during reaching. This might imply that both stereotypies might be regarded as functional strategies to compensate for the dysfunctional capacity to modulate subtly postural activity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological / physiology
  • Central Nervous System / physiopathology
  • Cerebral Palsy / physiopathology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Electromyography
  • Feedback / physiology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Motor Skills Disorders / diagnosis
  • Motor Skills Disorders / etiology
  • Motor Skills Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Movement Disorders / diagnosis
  • Movement Disorders / etiology
  • Movement Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Muscle Contraction / physiology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / innervation
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiopathology*
  • Postural Balance / physiology*