Hypotonia

Updated: May 11

Learn more about your baby's cerebellum and what hypotonia is in this blog post and find out how chiropractic care can help.



baby muscle tone

Hypotonia

Hypotonia (a.k.a floppy infant) is described as a lack of muscle tone and strength. There are a number of different causes of hypotonia, lack of tummy time in early infancy is one of them.

You may notice some of these subtle signs in your child:

  • Delayed/abnormal crawling patterns (e.g. bum shuffling)

  • Delayed/wobbly walking after 18 month milestone

  • Balance issues/clumsiness


Why?

The cerebellum is an important part of a child’s developing nervous system. It is located just behind the top part of the brainstem, where the spinal cord and brain meet.


It has many important functions such as maintaining good posture, balance, assisting with cognitive learning processes, speech function, as well as helping emotional regulation. The cerebellum allows us to move smoothly and function efficiently in our environment, by coordinating movements.


When it is not working efficiently, it can manifest as hypotonia in a child.


Adjustments


Dr. Melissa helps children with cerebellar dysfunction, that have an affect on their movement, co-ordination and development. Some cerebellar issues may even appear as clumsiness, writing difficulties, speech difficulties or difficulties in sports and activities which require co-ordination.


Children respond well to gentle, safe chiropractic care, cranial balances and home care and exercises, which help with development of the nervous system.


Home care exercises


Exercises performed on a fitball can be effective in developing your child's co-ordination and balance. Exercises prescribed can help strengthen their back muscles that help them extend and open up their chest area, promoting good posture, long-term.


Prescribed exercises primarily stimulate the vestibulospinal pathway, a neurological pathway that communicates with the cerebellum. This pathway is responsible for stimulating good muscle tone, muscle strength, balance, posture and neurodevelopment in children.


In younger infants, supervised tummy time is just as effective and stimulates the same neurological pathway.


Co-management with your maternal health nurse and/or family paediatrician is always considered as part of a child's care management.


If you have any questions or concerns about your child, please email me on melissa.misevski@gmail.com.


References:

  1. Volpe JJ. Neurology of the Newborn. 2008, 5th end, Elsevier health sciences.

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