Weakness of muscles and lack of muscle tone in babies, is generally termed as Hypotonia. This condition is usually diagnosed in infancy. Because of floppy limbs and lack of muscle control, children appear like rag-dolls, dragging and struggling to move. Depending on the cause of hypotonia, its severity can vary significantly from mild to severe hypotonia.
The causes of hypotonia include genetic conditions, brain or spinal cord damage, trauma, central nervous system disorders and / or environmental factors. In some cases, it’s difficult for doctors to identify a cause in some areas. Treatment of the underlying condition is important for eliminating or alleviating the resulting poor muscle tone. Physical therapy helps children with developmental delays and physical problems that often lead to hypotonia.
What can Hypotonia lead to, if left untreated?
Hypotonia can cause poor posture, mobility problems, poor reflexes and breathing difficulties. Infants who have hypotonia often experience dislocations in the neck, jaw and hip region. While hypotonia does not affect intelligence, children may have problems in developing language, social and reasoning skills. Infants that have problem chewing, sucking or swallowing food may have trouble eating. Poor muscle tone can also cause shallow breathing and speech difficulties. Infants may also have difficulties in reaching developmental milestones, such as lifting the head while lying down, balancing the body or sitting without falling over.
Symptoms of Hypotonia:
Evaluation of Hypotonia:
There are several therapies for hypotonia, these include physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, etc. After the cause of hypotonia is determined, your child’s medical team performs assessments of her motor skills, reflexes, nerve functioning, and sensory skills. Evaluation of your child’s condition helps her health care team develop an early intervention.
Physiotherapy for Hypotonia:
For infants experiencing lack of muscle tone, regular physiotherapy is essential, as it helps to improve muscle tone and prevent contractures. Physical therapy aims to improve posture and coordination, and strengthens the muscles around the joints of the limbs to provide more stability and support. For this purpose, regular exercises are prescribed. Early intervention programs start in infancy and progress to school-based physical therapy. Special toys and assistive devices may be used by your physiotherapist to encourage development of fine and gross motor skills. Physical therapy programs often include parent training to ensure that therapies are conducted correctly at home.
Physical therapy helps children with hypotonia achieve developmental milestones and continue to progress as they age. To improve your child’s self-confidence and motivation, early intervention through physical therapy can help. Get in touch with our professional physiotherapists in Edmonton, and they will ensure that your child develops all the essential motor skills that are required for their personal growth and development.