Spina Bifida is termed a defect in the formation of the spinal cord. There are three
types of Spina Bifida: Spina Bifida Occulta, Meningocele, and Myelomeningocele. Spina
Bifida Occulta is a hidden lesion and is the mildest form.
Meningocele is the type that contains only the membranes that end in the sac wall. There
is no nerve damage with this type. Myelomeningocele is an open spinal cord defect. Skin
does not cover this lesion and it is associated with paralysis. This is the most severe
form of spina bifida.
Children with spina bifida may have upper extremity weakness and they are defined as the
level that is the lowest intact. These children may have upper limb discoordination,
cranial nerve palsies, spasticity, progressive neurological dysfunction, skin breakdown
and obesity. Spinal deformities associated with spina bifida include scoliosis,
kyphosis, hyperlordosis and other muscular imbalances.
Physical therapy is used to address these impairments through strengthening, stretching,
positioning, splinting, standing, posture, maintaining range of motion, and addressing
gross motor goals.