Complications of cerebral palsy

The problem in the brain that causes cerebral palsy doesn't get worse with age. However, as a person with the condition grows, physical and emotional problems can develop.

Physical problems

Many adults with cerebral palsy develop further physical problems (such as Osteoarthritis ) as a result of their condition, which can cause pain, fatigue and weakness.

These problems are largely caused by the bone and muscle abnormalities associated with cerebral palsy, which can place a lot of physical stress on the body. As a result, a person with the condition can use up much more energy carrying out everyday tasks than someone who doesn't.

Further physiotherapy and mobility equipment , such as a wheelchair or walking frame, may help to relieve some of the physical problems that can develop later on as a result of cerebral palsy.


The daily challenges of living with cerebral palsy can be difficult to cope with emotionally, and adults with the condition are at an increased risk of developing depression .

You should see your GP or care team if you think you may be depressed. There are several treatments that can help, such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) .

Talking to other people living with cerebral palsy may also help. Scope , a charity for people with cerebral palsy, runs an internet forum for people with the condition .

Scope also has more detailed information about ageing and cerebral palsy (including life expectancy) .

Content supplied by the NHS Website

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 28 Nov 2016