Whenever we use our muscles for movement, we either stretch or contract them. The muscle tension here adds resistance to this movement. If this muscle tension is higher, it is hypertonia, and if it is lower, it is hypotonia. So, let us remove all the confusion and study hypotonia in toddlers and infants.
It would be important to understand the meaning of muscle tone to understand hypotonia. Muscle tone is the amount of tension in your muscle when at rest. When children cannot sit properly and keep flopping down, they typically have hypotonia. The disease in itself is called floppy infant syndrome. Muscle tone develops during pregnancy; however, premature babies do not have appropriate muscle tone as they are delivered. However, hypotonia in premature babies is usually temporary due to being delivered before time.
Hypotonia is not a condition in itself. It arises from various other health issues. It can be caused due to a birth injury or conditions of the spinal cord, brain, and nerves. These three organs are closely related to muscle development and control.
So, the causes of hypotonia in infants can be:
Following are hypotonic symptoms in a baby:
Following are the impacts of hypotonia on infants:
Since there are multiple causes behind hypotonia, it might take time to diagnose hypotonia. The doctor might ask you a series of questions regarding your family’s genetic and medical history. He will also be keen to know the course of your pregnancy, your delivery details, and whether the child witnessed any seizures after birth. The child will go through a physical examination to check:
To be very sure and to draw a conclusion, the doctor might order some tests like:
Once the doctor figures out the cause behind the disease, the treatment follows. Different types of therapies might help strengthen the muscles and improve coordination. Like:
It helps the child develop fine motor skills.
It further enhances the child’s control of their movements. The child might gain strength and improve muscle time with time.
Following activities or exercises will help an infant to improve muscle tone:
Make sure the child eats properly. Give food in small intervals. If the child requires support while eating, please provide them with proper support.
Keep toys in different positions to encourage them to reach the place and get the toys. Once the kid can stand and walk, make them walk on different surfaces. Place toys in a way that the child squat and run to take them.
Following are the activities for a child:
Make the child pull and push the filled laundry bag around the house. You can fill the bag with toys or anything.
Hold the rope from one side and let the child pull it for 10-15 seconds in a go. Put something soft behind them in case they fall.
Make the child sit on the therapy ball. Bounce the child up and down. You can also roll the ball front, back, and sideways to up one level.
Make them do crab walks, snake crawl, bear walk, and bunny hop. These walks work on many muscles and help put weight on the joints.
Make them kick, throw, catch and hit the ball.
Make the child do a lot of hand exercises so that later they can write and draw well. Make them use spray bottles to water the plants.
Floppy baby syndrome life expectancy is sometimes quite low. Mostly, hypotonia can be diagnosed at birth. But in a few cases, it does not become clear until they get a little old. The clear sign of hypotonia is: the child not meeting the developmental milestones.
In such a scenario, discuss your child’s growth with the doctor. The doctor will do a physical examination and might ask to conduct a few tests in case of doubt.
In the case of an adult, if sudden symptoms appear, consult a doctor immediately.
The underlying condition defines the outcome of this disease. Hypotonia can be a lifetime disease. Or in some cases, the muscle tone might improve with time. Many milder cases might not even witness developmental delays. Some children might acquire gross motor skills a little late. Most children improve with continuous therapy over time. But few sensitive cases may require wheelchairs or walkers and other assistive equipment for day-to-day activities.
A hypotonic child might need support for daily activities, the most being their parents’ emotional and mental support. Do not compare your child. Do not be saddened that your child’s development is delayed or that your child is a certain way. Be their support. Therapy might improve things over time. Do not panic and listen to what the doctor suggests.
This post was last modified on January 11, 2022 10:30 am
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