What Is Hypotonic Cerebral Palsy?
Hypotonic cerebral palsy is a developmental disorder that affects motor function. Like all other types of cerebral palsy, this form of cerebral palsy is caused by brain damage before, during, or shortly after childbirth. Hypotonic cerebral palsy is one of the rarest types of the condition, accounting for 2.6% of all cases.
Hypotonic cerebral palsy is generally characterized by low muscle tone, resulting in floppy muscles. The instability of muscles can cause children to miss important developmental milestones such as rolling over, sitting up, crawling, and walking. The floppy muscles do not lack strength but instead lack stability.
If your child is diagnosed with hypotonic cerebral palsy, they may experience several physical or neurological impairments. Thankfully, there are several treatment options available to help manage your child’s symptoms to lead a healthy, independent life.
Hypertonic vs. Hypotonic Cerebral Palsy
Hypotonic cerebral palsy is often confused with hypertonic cerebral palsy since the names of the conditions are very similar. These conditions differ in symptoms due to damage to different parts of the brain.
The main distinguishing factor between these two conditions is the type of muscle tone.
- Hypertonic: Characterized by stiffened muscles (hypertonia)
- Hypotonic: Characterized by loosened muscles (hypotonia)
Hypertonia is a more common type of muscle tone in cerebral palsy patients. The most common form of hypertonia is spasticity (stiff, jerky muscle movement), which is the main symptom of spastic cerebral palsy. Children with hypotonic cerebral palsy are less likely to experience muscle or joint contractures compared to children with athetoid and spastic cerebral palsy.
Many cases of cerebral palsy are caused by medical negligence before, during, or shortly after childbirth. You may be eligible for financial compensation if your child’s hypotonic cerebral palsy was preventable. Reach out to us today to find out if you qualify.
Hypotonic Cerebral Palsy Causes
Cerebral palsy is most often caused by brain damage sustained during the birthing process. Damage to different motor control centers of the developing brain can cause different types of cerebral palsy, resulting in a variety of symptoms.
The most common cause of cerebral palsy that leads to hypotonia is caused by damage to the cerebellum of the brain. The cerebellum is responsible for receiving messages from the spinal cord and other areas of the brain to control motor movement. Damage to this area of the brain can cause abnormalities with motor function and muscle tone.
Situations that can cause brain injury and hypotonic cerebral palsy include:
- Excessively pulling on the child’s head, neck, or shoulders
- Failure to detect and/or treat maternal infection
- Failure to detect fetal distress such as lack of oxygen (hypoxia)
- Failure to detect umbilical cord complications
- Failure to perform a necessary C-section
- Improper use of forceps or vacuum delivery
Doctors are trained to know how to handle emergency situations and complicated childbirths. If the health care professionals who delivered your child made careless medical mistakes that led to your child’s cerebral palsy, it may be considered medical malpractice.
Hypotonic Cerebral Palsy Signs & Symptoms
Most cases of cerebral palsy are not diagnosed until a few months or years into the child’s life. Hypotonic cerebral palsy symptoms may go unnoticed since signs of cerebral palsy may be confused with other conditions associated with abnormal brain development.
There are several specific symptoms to look out for if you suspect your child has hypotonic cerebral palsy.
Signs and symptoms of hypotonic cerebral palsy include:
- Developmental delays
- Excessive muscle flexibility
- Difficulty chewing or swallowing
- Flexible joints and ligaments
- Lack of head control
- Loose muscles
- Poor balance and stability
If your child has any of these symptoms and you think they may have hypotonic cerebral palsy, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Get a free case review today to learn if you are eligible.
Management & Treatments for Hypotonic Cerebral Palsy
The symptoms of hypotonic cerebral palsy may make it very difficult for your child to control muscle movement and live an independent life. Thankfully, there are several cerebral palsy treatment options to help your child manage their condition.
Treatments for hypotonic cerebral palsy include:
Physical therapy can help children regain stability and build strength to help with muscle movement. Therapists can target underused muscles and build an exercise regimen to help with stability and coordination.
Occupational therapy can be helpful for children with hypotonic cerebral palsy that have difficulty completing daily tasks. Occupational therapists help children learn how to control their fine motor skills to brush their teeth, get dressed, eat with utensils, and more.
Speech therapy can be especially helpful for hypotonic cerebral palsy patients that have poor muscle control in their jaw. Speech therapists aim to strengthen oral muscles to give children more freedom to feed themselves and communicate more effectively.
Mobility aids are a great way to help your child move freely and independently. Children with hypotonic cerebral palsy may benefit from mobility aids such as braces to elongate muscles and move with ease. Other mobility aids such as wheelchairs and scooters can be used for children with more severe movement impairments.
It is important to remember every child will have a different hypotonic cerebral palsy prognosis, which is the projected outcome of a condition. Each child will also experience various symptoms and require different types of treatment.
Get Help for Hypotonic Cerebral Palsy
If you believe your child may have developed hypotonic cerebral palsy, reach out to your pediatrician to get a formal diagnosis.
Parents and caregivers of children with hypotonic cerebral palsy may need help finding treatment methods and support for their children.
Fortunately, there are many resources available to help families find and pay for their child’s cerebral palsy treatment. Families of children with hypotonic cerebral palsy may be eligible to get financial compensation through a medical malpractice lawsuit or financial assistance.
Download our free Cerebral Palsy Guide today to learn more about cerebral palsy diagnosis, treatment, and financial assistance options.