Spine Archive: Hypotonia

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Hypotonia

Find out more about spinal cord conditions here in The Knowledge Center of Dr. Leone

Hypotonia is a scary phenomenon existing in infants causing their bodies to appear “floppy” or “loose” and exhibit poor head control. This is caused by a communication problem along the muscle control pathway and can include the spinal cord, nerves, and muscle associated with it.

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When to be tested for SMA

Spinal Muscular Atrophy has three primary indicators for the recommendation of genetic testing.

  • appearance of SMN1 mutation in the family structure of the patient
  • genetic diagnosis of two known carriers of SMA in reference to prenatal or preimplantation situations
  • diagnosis of patients with weakness in the muscles and hypotonia – a substantial indication of spinal muscular atrophy
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Spinal Shock

Spinal shock occurs in an initial period after spinal cord injury during which metabolic rather than structural derangements in the injured cord result in spinal cord dysfunction characterized by paralysis, hyptonia, and areflexia. Once spinal shock has resolved, the motor and sensory examination allows the patient to be graded on a scale of functional impairment.

¹Abitbol MD, Jean-Jacques. Orthopaedic Knowledge Update: Spine. Rosemont: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, 2002.