The hypotonia in babies It is the decrease in muscle tone. It is not a disease but a clinical sign, which may be associated with a deficit in psychomotor development, and be a symptom of an underlying condition.
It is important to diagnose and treat it promptly, for the best results. The vast majority of hypotonias in babies are benign and develop positively. It may be congenital (if it appears at birth) or acquired, when it happens later, and be transitory or constant.
He muscular tone is responsible for our maintaining a stable posture. It is the activation capacity that the muscles have when we are at rest. The muscles send information to the brain, and, in turn, the brain sends information to the muscles so that the tone necessary to perform different activities is produced.
When a hypotonia, this exchange of information does not take place correctly. It can occur if there is an injury that affects the central nervous system, peripheral nervous system or nerves, spinal cord, muscles, tendons, or connective tissue.
It can also be caused by chromosomal and genetic diseases (Down syndrome, Prader - Willy, etc), by prematurity, cerebral palsy, severe infections, malnutrition, congenital heart disease, congenital hypothyroidism ... Sometimes the cause is not found, but still without having an accurate diagnosis, usually progress favorably.
Your pediatrician and physical therapist can help diagnose this condition through an examination of motor acquisitions based on the age of the baby or child. They will assess muscle strength, reflexes, ask about family history, infections or trauma in pregnancy or childbirth. In some cases, tests such as MRIs and genetic analysis will be necessary.
Symptoms that may alert you to a possible hypotonia in babies They are:
- Difficulty holding the head they take longer to straighten.
- You drink very soft. Their arms or legs may be more stretched out than usual. Very flexible, they bow a lot, they show no resistance when moved.
- They take longer to withdraw a member after painful stimulation.
- Suction problems, hook on the chest, to swallow or chew.
- Difficulty turning on the belly being face down
- It is difficult for them to stand up, sitting unaided, ultimately fighting gravity.
- They are slower when it comes to crawling, walking… (But with early stimulation, they can do it).
The treatment to be followed in the case of hypotonia in babies It is usually part of a multidisciplinary approach where, depending on the degree of affectation, the pediatrician, the physiotherapist, the speech therapist, the occupational therapist and the neurologist may also intervene.
The physiotherapist will rely on movement as the key to stimulation to achieve good posture, balance, coordination ...
It is very important that the child is rocked, that he is stimulated to move freely in all positions, that he is given energetic massages to improve the integration of your body scheme; also that they are tickled with different textures, that it is carried instead of being carried in a cart or, even, that it is avoided to leave it in hammocks for a long time.
The byergonomic teo, Always with the baby facing the parents' chest, avoiding the position in a crib and with the legs in "frog" or "M", it is a great stimulus for the baby, since it makes him have to adapt to the movements .
Success and speed of improvement it depends a lot on the work that parents do at home. It has to be daily, very repetitive and constant.
Here are some activities you can do at home with bekiss with hypotonia or low muscle tone.
1. From lying on his back, and even with a wedge under the baby's back, take him by the hand and try to pull towards us to work the straightening of the head. We return slowly and, if necessary, holding the head something.
2. We take them from the gut and trunk and rock them back and forth "doing the plane" trying to raise their heads. We can also hold them on their side by grabbing the upper leg and trunk and trying the same.
3. We place the baby with a roller under his belly, we move him slowly back and forth, trying to straighten his head. As he is older and the hands touch the ground, they should open the palms and not support the fist.
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