Did you notice a delay in your child’s ability to sit up, walk, or eat themselves? Does your child lack the ability to control their neck muscles or lift their head? Does your baby have straight arms and legs that don’t bend at the elbow or knee? If yes, this could be the signs hypotonia which is characterised by low muscle tone. It frequently represents an indication of an underlying medical issue. Keep reading to learn more about the symptoms, causes, treatments for hypotonia and foods that help to manage hypotonia.
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Hypotonia is characterised by poor muscle tone. It is also referred to as “floppy infant syndrome.” The condition can be identified by doctors during the first few minutes of life. Hypotonia can occasionally appear later, but it usually becomes apparent by 6 months of age. Muscle tone is your body’s reaction which enables you to maintain your posture when sitting and employ reflexes like moving your arms and legs. Muscle tone also contributes to the regulation of organ function in your body. If you don’t have enough muscular tone, your arms and legs will look floppy and weak. Your infant may struggle to sit up straight, hold their head up, and stretch their knees and elbows.
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Symptoms of hypotonia
A rag doll-like appearance to a child’s physique is a symptom of hypotonia. Here are few typical signs of hypotonia:
- Delay in developmental milestones like rolling over, sitting, crawling and walking
- Having trouble speaking
- Not able to regulate the neck muscle or lift the head
- Has rigid limbs and legs that don’t bend at the elbow or knee
- Trouble sucking or swallowing
- Weak muscles
- Unable to cry loudly
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Causes of hypotonia
Hypotonia results from a malfunction in the signalling between the pathways that regulate movement. The brain, spinal cord, nerves, and muscles are all connected via these routes. Here are some major causes of hypotonia:
- Genetic conditions: Down’s syndrome,Trisomy 13, Williams syndrome.
- Premature birth
- Conditions like cerebral palsy and muscular atrophy
- Lack of oxygen during delivery
- Severe injury in brain or spinal cord
- Birth defects and brain abnormalities
- Certain infections like meningitis, measles etc
- Sleep apnea
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Treatments for hypotonia
It is a lifelong condition. Sometimes, muscular tone becomes better with time but it’s not always curable. Here are some therapies that help to enhance their muscle tone and increase coordination skills:
1.OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY (OT)
This type of treatment helps children learn life skills such as eating and dressing themselves, bathing, and understanding how to interact with others. The skills they learn are helpful to them living as independently as possible.
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2. PHYSICAL THERAPY (PT)
Physical therapy increases a person’s capacity to engage in daily activities, much as occupational therapy. It improves gross motor skills and sensory integration problems, particularly those involving the patient’s capacity to feel and be aware of his body in space. PT aims to teach and enhance abilities like sitting, walking, coordination, and balance. It is most successful by including physical therapy along with occupational therapy in an early intervention programme.
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Speech therapy is a crucial therapeutic choice for ID patients since they struggle with social communication. It improves an individual’s communication abilities with a certified speech-language pathologist, enabling them to express their needs and wishes more clearly. When speech-language pathologists collaborate with teachers, support staff, families, and the child’s classmates to encourage functional communication in natural contexts, speech treatment for people with hypotonia is frequently most effective.
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4.Sensory stimulation therapy
Sensory stimulation therapy is an experimental therapy for kids dealing with sensory processing issues or lack of senses. By offering sensory stimulation, it may be possible to activate the brain’s adaptability, excite the impaired neural networks, and prevent sensory loss. However, the effectiveness of such treatment is still being debated today. Now, music therapy has been suggested as a good approach to sensory stimulation programmes as another means to stimulate the senses.
Also check, Sensory activities for kids
Foods that help to manage hypotonia
Adding foods that support brain development can help to improve motor skills, speech and hand-eye coordination in kids. The types of foods that effectively impact motor skills, speech and coordination include:
All the nuts like almonds, walnuts, cashew, peanuts and hazelnuts are rich in vitamin E and vitamin B6. They help to improve motor skills and coordination in kids. They are also antioxidants which protect against cell damage. Walnuts are rich in omega 3 fatty acids and are a valuable substance for brain function, memory and thinking abilities. This fatty acid also encourages cognitive functions.
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Seeds like flax, chia, melon, sesame and pumpkins also contain powerful antioxidants like vitamin E that protect the brain from free radical damage. Sunflower seeds impact overall mood and mental processing powers and therefore it is considered a brain boosting snack. Pumpkin seeds are high in magnesium, copper, and also higher in zinc than other seeds. They also help in increasing concentration and memory. Healthy brain can effectively help in improving motor skills, speech and coordination.
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Ashwagandha is an adaptogen. It can help in reducing anxiety and stress. Moreover, it increases acetylcholine levels which support better memory, mental focus and intelligence. Ashwagandha also improves communication between nerve cells and stimulates the body’s capacity to heal any nervous system damage. For general nourishment and renewal, ashwagandha is typically eaten with ghee and honey (in equal parts), which serve as anupans (a medium for delivering herbs deeper into the tissues).
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Brahmi is a superfood for the brain. It helps in sharpening the brain by protecting cells and also increases the chemicals associated with learning and memory. It has shown to improve spatial learning and retaining power in kids. Kids in the older times were often given Brahmi powder with ghee/honey. This would increase their focus and attention while keeping them calm and distressed. The most notable advantage of brahmi is that it enhances cognitive abilities and also stimulates the mind to increase focus and memory. Bacopa, taken twice daily at a dose of 300 mg, was found to improve test results related to cognitive function after six weeks of regular treatment.
Also check, Benefits of brahmi for brain development
Shankhapushpi is a traditional remedy for increasing the functioning of the brain. The powerful antioxidants and also the flavonoids present in it improve the memory capacity, focus, concentration, calmness and alertness of an individual. Because it is a brain tonic and stimulator, people taking shankhapushpi have improved memory, reasoning, problem-solving, and other cognitive abilities.
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