Stormy Huxley was born three months premature. She had a brain hemorrhage resulting in cerebral palsy and she also has a family history of genetic issues affecting her joints causing increased laxity. This coupled with the spasticity from the cerebral palsy affects her performance of daily activities and ability to functionally ambulate. Stormy is confined to a power wheelchair but she does have the ability to propel a manual wheelchair for short distances.
I began treating Stormy when she was six years old as an outpatient. I would consider her to be one of my first pediatric patients. Initially working with Stormy, treatment focused on promoting ambulation, generalized flexibility and strengthening activities. Typically with children diagnosed with cerebral palsy, growth affects the child’s function. This was especially true with Stormy. In the years that I have treated her, she has had two major surgeries including a dorsal rhizotomy and bilateral derotational femoral osteotomies. She has also had a fusion of her thumb. Following each surgery, my treatment plan changed to follow post operative concerns and goals.
As Stormy has gotten older, treatment has shifted from ambulation to addressing more independence with functional transfers, self care, mobility with her manual wheelchair to allow independent access through her home, and the main concern has been activation of her core which is necessary for all other activities. Stormy will never be a functional, independent ambulator but she and her family want her to be as independent as possible. We have worked very hard together to allow her to perform sit to stand transfers with the least amount of assistance required. She has also utilized the Alter G anti-gravity treadmill at Mountain River Physical Therapy which allows her to walk independently. The treadmill unweights her and gives her support allowing her to not only walk but also perform exercises in standing. This helps with strengthening and endurance as well as gait and balance.
Stormy also benefits from trigger point dry needling. This technique provides a neuromuscular reset. It allows for appropriate activation and use of muscles. She demonstrates improved sitting posture, decreased muscle tightness especially in her hamstrings and improves her functional transfers immediately following treatment. Mountain River Physical Therapy has given Stormy a new hope for walking/transferring independently in the future and continues to strengthen and improve her daily function.