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What is hydrocephalus?

Hydrocephalus is a build-up of cerebrospinal fluid in the skull leading to swelling of the brain. The brain normally relies on cerebrospinal fluid for protection and nutrients. A build-up of this fluid increases the pressure on the brain, which can result in swelling and damage to the brain tissue.

Functional mobility exercises assisted by an experienced paediatric physiotherapistAbove: Functional mobility exercises assisted by an experienced paediatric physiotherapist

What causes hydrocephalus?

Hydrocephalus can be congenital which means your child is born with the condition, or can be acquired after birth due to a head injury, meningitis, or spina bifida.

What are the symptoms of hydrocephalus?

Symptoms of hydrocephalus depend on your childs age and the area of brain affected but may include:

Diagnosis of hydrocephalus

Hydrocephalus is diagnosed through clinical neurological evaluation of the brain using tests such as computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or pressure-monitoring techniques. A doctor will select the most appropriate diagnostic tool based on your child’s age, clinical presentation, and the presence of known or suspected abnormalities of the brain or spinal cord.

Balance and co-ordination exercises supervised by a paediatric physiotherapistAbove: Balance and co-ordination exercises supervised by a paediatric physiotherapist

How is hydrocephalus treated?

Treatment usually involves surgery to insert a shunt which allows fluid to drain elsewhere in the body, to restore normal levels of fluid and pressure and prevent or limit further damage to brain tissue.

Physiotherapy for hydrocephalus

Our paediatric physiotherapist at understand the impact that hydrocephalus can have on your child’s life.

Physiotherapy treatment is important for your toddler following their treatment to help restore their muscle strength, balance and functional independence with their developmental milestones.

Our specialist paediatric physiotherapists at provide specialist assessment and treatment for toddlers with hydrocephalus in order to optimise functional potential and improve quality of life.

An initial assessment with your physiotherapist will will identify your childs needs and current stage of development, in order to tailor treatment which may include:
  • Correcting and varying posture in lying, sitting and standing
  • Activities to facilitate normal movement patterns
  • Practising functional activities using games and toys to promote achievement of physical milestones such as sitting, standing, crawling
  • Fun and stimulating exercises to strengthen weak muscles
  • Passive stretching to length tight muscles
  • Exercises to improve balance and coordination
  • Hydrotherapy to stretch and strengthen muscles in a relaxing environment
Our physiotherapists at can provide treatment for your child in their home, nursery or at our clinic.

For more information on physiotherapy for hydrocephalus, or to book an appointment please call 0330 088 7800, or book online today!

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