Beneath the Surface of Aging With Cerebral Palsy

By medical definition, cerebral palsy is a non-progressive condition. While CP might not present a progressive nature on the surface, the side effects can be painfully rampant throughout the body.

As I began my 20s this year, I would’ve never imagined I would have arthritis in my neck already. Sitting in my chair throughout the years had left my neck vulnerable and stiff, leading to unbearable pain that seems endless. This arthritic pain will likely worsen as I age. Now there are remedies (stretching, hot compresses, etc.), but those with similar pain know these remedies only provide temporary relief.

Many people with CP become familiar with the mantra “out of sight, out of mind” from peers or professionals around them pertaining to their care and well-being. However, those same individuals don’t see excruciating sciatica or the persistent foot pain that arises from years living with cerebral palsy. I could go down the list of painful experiences, but those with chronic pain get the idea.

Chronic pain is valid and should be taken as seriously as an outward physical injury, but too often it is not. An environment that encouraged patience and compassion in dealing with issues like chronic pain would allow individuals like myself to feel better understood and not have to suffer in silence. While it is true that cerebral palsy is non-progressive, a shift in focus to include external and internal implications, not only for CP but for any condition is a productive way forward for the health of the disabled community at large.

Lastly, I want anyone who might be suffering in silence to know there are individuals in this community, including myself, who are here for you in support and love as your journey continues.

Getty image by shih-wei.

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