How can your child hold himself spontaneously
the excessive efforts he has to make today?
How many times do we see children with CP encouraged to lift their head off the ground when put on all fours, with the hopes of making a few attempts at crawling?
We see the child desperately pushing on his/her arms to try to lift off the ground, holding the position is a COLOSSAL effort for a few short seconds… to PITIFULLY collapse from absolute exhaustion.
Why is it so difficult?
Healthy individuals don’t even think about weight-bearing, they simply weight-bear… it is an involuntary act that does not require any muscular effort.
Because with weight-bearing, we unconsciously appeal to our compressional strength (inner hydraulic force) which is intimately linked to adequate fascial tone. There is no effort involved in lifting our head or torso…while the child with CP, suffering from weakened fascial tone, does not have sufficient hydraulic force and has no other recourse than appealing to his skeletal muscles to accomplish the same task.
The problem is that the skeletal muscles are 1) not designed to weight-bear and 2) are extremely expensive in terms of energy expenditure.
Biceps/triceps, for example, were not designed to weight-bear our body. They were designed to provide our arms with the mechanical structure needed to allow for the movement of the arms (lift, lower, push, pull, etc.)
Appealing to skeletal muscles (like a child with CP does) demands a lot in terms of energy consumption. You just have to remember how quickly you get tired when lifting weights at the gym…
It is the same Olympic workout that is expected from your child with CP when you ask him/her to lift their body off the ground by pushing on his/her arms or when you ask him/her to lift their head (as he/she has no other way than appealing to their neck muscles).
This explains the basic shortcomings of training at this level.
This leads us to an essential question:
What kind of training are you imposing on your child with CP? Is it leading towards a ‘gain’ or a ‘drain’? Is it leading towards ‘efficiency’ or ‘overdrive’? Once you start understanding the human structure, you quickly realize how illusive training is, if you don’t improve the structure first!
Building a strong deep core structure by strengthening fascial tone is a essential prerequisite for developing effortless weight-bearing capacity.