Hypotonia Information Page

Hypotonia Information Page


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What research is being done?

The NINDS supports research on conditions that can result from neurological disorders, such as hypotonia.  Much of this research is aimed at learning more about these conditions and finding ways to prevent and treat them.

Information from the National Library of Medicine’s MedlinePlus
Hypotonia

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What research is being done?

The NINDS supports research on conditions that can result from neurological disorders, such as hypotonia.  Much of this research is aimed at learning more about these conditions and finding ways to prevent and treat them.

Information from the National Library of Medicine’s MedlinePlus
Hypotonia

The NINDS supports research on conditions that can result from neurological disorders, such as hypotonia.  Much of this research is aimed at learning more about these conditions and finding ways to prevent and treat them.

Information from the National Library of Medicine’s MedlinePlus
Hypotonia


Definition
Definition
Treatment
Treatment
Prognosis
Prognosis
Clinical Trials
Clinical Trials
Organizations
Organizations
Publications
Publications
Definition
Definition

Hypotonia is a medical term used to describe decreased muscle tone.  Normally, even when relaxed, muscles have a very small amount of contraction that gives them a springy feel and provides some resistance to passive movement.  It is not the same as muscle weakness, although the two conditions can co-exist.  Muscle tone is regulated by signals that travel from the brain to the nerves and tell the muscles to contract.  Hypotonia can happen from damage to the brain, spinal cord, nerves, or muscles.  The damage can be the result of trauma, environmental factors, or genetic, muscle, or central nervous system disorders.  For example, it can be seen in Down syndrome, muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, Prader-Willi syndrome, myotonic dystrophy, and Tay-Sachs disease.  Sometimes it may not be possible to find what causes the hypotonia.  Infants with hypotonia have a floppy quality or “rag doll” appearance because their arms and legs hang by their sides and they have little or no head control.  Other symptoms of hypotonia include problems with mobility and posture, breathing and speech difficulties, ligament and joint laxity, and poor reflexes.  Hypotonia does not affect intellect.  The opposite of hypotonia is hypertonia.

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Definition

Hypotonia is a medical term used to describe decreased muscle tone.  Normally, even when relaxed, muscles have a very small amount of contraction that gives them a springy feel and provides some resistance to passive movement.  It is not the same as muscle weakness, although the two conditions can co-exist.  Muscle tone is regulated by signals that travel from the brain to the nerves and tell the muscles to contract.  Hypotonia can happen from damage to the brain, spinal cord, nerves, or muscles.  The damage can be the result of trauma, environmental factors, or genetic, muscle, or central nervous system disorders.  For example, it can be seen in Down syndrome, muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, Prader-Willi syndrome, myotonic dystrophy, and Tay-Sachs disease.  Sometimes it may not be possible to find what causes the hypotonia.  Infants with hypotonia have a floppy quality or “rag doll” appearance because their arms and legs hang by their sides and they have little or no head control.  Other symptoms of hypotonia include problems with mobility and posture, breathing and speech difficulties, ligament and joint laxity, and poor reflexes.  Hypotonia does not affect intellect.  The opposite of hypotonia is hypertonia.

Treatment
Treatment

Treatment begins with a thorough diagnostic evaluation, usually performed by a neurologist, including an assessment of motor and sensory skills, balance and coordination, mental status, reflexes, and functioning of the nerves.  Diagnostic tests that may be helpful include a CT or MRI scan of the brain, an EMG to evaluate nerve and muscle function, or an EEG to measure electrical activity in the brain. Once a diagnosis has been made, the underlying condition is treated first, followed by symptomatic and supportive therapy for the hypotonia.  Physical therapy can improve motor control and overall body strength.  Occupational therapy can help relearn ways to address activities of daily living.  Speech-language therapy can help breathing, speech, and swallowing difficulties.  Therapy for infants and young children may also include sensory stimulation programs.

×
Treatment

Treatment begins with a thorough diagnostic evaluation, usually performed by a neurologist, including an assessment of motor and sensory skills, balance and coordination, mental status, reflexes, and functioning of the nerves.  Diagnostic tests that may be helpful include a CT or MRI scan of the brain, an EMG to evaluate nerve and muscle function, or an EEG to measure electrical activity in the brain. Once a diagnosis has been made, the underlying condition is treated first, followed by symptomatic and supportive therapy for the hypotonia.  Physical therapy can improve motor control and overall body strength.  Occupational therapy can help relearn ways to address activities of daily living.  Speech-language therapy can help breathing, speech, and swallowing difficulties.  Therapy for infants and young children may also include sensory stimulation programs.

Definition
Definition

Hypotonia is a medical term used to describe decreased muscle tone.  Normally, even when relaxed, muscles have a very small amount of contraction that gives them a springy feel and provides some resistance to passive movement.  It is not the same as muscle weakness, although the two conditions can co-exist.  Muscle tone is regulated by signals that travel from the brain to the nerves and tell the muscles to contract.  Hypotonia can happen from damage to the brain, spinal cord, nerves, or muscles.  The damage can be the result of trauma, environmental factors, or genetic, muscle, or central nervous system disorders.  For example, it can be seen in Down syndrome, muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, Prader-Willi syndrome, myotonic dystrophy, and Tay-Sachs disease.  Sometimes it may not be possible to find what causes the hypotonia.  Infants with hypotonia have a floppy quality or “rag doll” appearance because their arms and legs hang by their sides and they have little or no head control.  Other symptoms of hypotonia include problems with mobility and posture, breathing and speech difficulties, ligament and joint laxity, and poor reflexes.  Hypotonia does not affect intellect.  The opposite of hypotonia is hypertonia.

Treatment
Treatment

Treatment begins with a thorough diagnostic evaluation, usually performed by a neurologist, including an assessment of motor and sensory skills, balance and coordination, mental status, reflexes, and functioning of the nerves.  Diagnostic tests that may be helpful include a CT or MRI scan of the brain, an EMG to evaluate nerve and muscle function, or an EEG to measure electrical activity in the brain. Once a diagnosis has been made, the underlying condition is treated first, followed by symptomatic and supportive therapy for the hypotonia.  Physical therapy can improve motor control and overall body strength.  Occupational therapy can help relearn ways to address activities of daily living.  Speech-language therapy can help breathing, speech, and swallowing difficulties.  Therapy for infants and young children may also include sensory stimulation programs.

Prognosis
Prognosis

Hypotonia can be a life-long condition.  In some cases, however, muscle tone improves over time. 

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Hypotonia can be a life-long condition.  In some cases, however, muscle tone improves over time. 

Prognosis
Prognosis

Hypotonia can be a life-long condition.  In some cases, however, muscle tone improves over time. 

Definition

Hypotonia is a medical term used to describe decreased muscle tone.  Normally, even when relaxed, muscles have a very small amount of contraction that gives them a springy feel and provides some resistance to passive movement.  It is not the same as muscle weakness, although the two conditions can co-exist.  Muscle tone is regulated by signals that travel from the brain to the nerves and tell the muscles to contract.  Hypotonia can happen from damage to the brain, spinal cord, nerves, or muscles.  The damage can be the result of trauma, environmental factors, or genetic, muscle, or central nervous system disorders.  For example, it can be seen in Down syndrome, muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, Prader-Willi syndrome, myotonic dystrophy, and Tay-Sachs disease.  Sometimes it may not be possible to find what causes the hypotonia.  Infants with hypotonia have a floppy quality or “rag doll” appearance because their arms and legs hang by their sides and they have little or no head control.  Other symptoms of hypotonia include problems with mobility and posture, breathing and speech difficulties, ligament and joint laxity, and poor reflexes.  Hypotonia does not affect intellect.  The opposite of hypotonia is hypertonia.

Treatment

Treatment begins with a thorough diagnostic evaluation, usually performed by a neurologist, including an assessment of motor and sensory skills, balance and coordination, mental status, reflexes, and functioning of the nerves.  Diagnostic tests that may be helpful include a CT or MRI scan of the brain, an EMG to evaluate nerve and muscle function, or an EEG to measure electrical activity in the brain. Once a diagnosis has been made, the underlying condition is treated first, followed by symptomatic and supportive therapy for the hypotonia.  Physical therapy can improve motor control and overall body strength.  Occupational therapy can help relearn ways to address activities of daily living.  Speech-language therapy can help breathing, speech, and swallowing difficulties.  Therapy for infants and young children may also include sensory stimulation programs.

Prognosis

Hypotonia can be a life-long condition.  In some cases, however, muscle tone improves over time. 

What research is being done?

The NINDS supports research on conditions that can result from neurological disorders, such as hypotonia.  Much of this research is aimed at learning more about these conditions and finding ways to prevent and treat them.

Information from the National Library of Medicine’s MedlinePlus
Hypotonia

Patient Organizations
March of Dimes
1275 Mamaroneck Avenue
White Plains
NY
White Plains, NY 10605
Tel: 914-997-4488; 888-MODIMES (663-4637)
Muscular Dystrophy Association
National Office - 222 S. Riverside Plaza
Suite 1500
Chicago
IL
Chicago, IL 60606
Tel: 800-572-1717
National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD)
55 Kenosia Avenue
Danbury
CT
Danbury, CT 06810
Tel: 203-744-0100; Voice Mail: 800-999-NORD (6673)