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Tone is the resistance of the muscles to stretch. It is basically the amount of tone a muscle has at rest.  Normal tone is high enough to resist the effects of gravity, in posture and movement,  yet low enough to allow freedom of movement. 
 
Hypertonia is resistance in muscle movement (high muscle tone) in response to passive movement and  is not dependent on the speed of movement. Hypertonia creates a condition in which the muscles are stiff. This condition is caused by damage to the brain from injury or disease.  Hypertonia  often presents together with  spasticity, rigidity, athatonia, or dystonia.
 
Damage to the brain may not be reversible, and in a sense there is not a “cure” for hypertonia.  However, the brain can adapt to compensate for damage, and proper interventions can maximize this.   Additionally many interventions can minimize or prevent the subsequent contractures and joint damage that Hypertonia may cause in the body.   The ultimate goal is to reduce pain and dysfunction and improve the quality of your child’s life.  
 

Symptoms:

  • Increase in muscle tone
  • Rigid muscle sent disorders
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Movement disorders
  • Joint deformity 

Evaluation:

Your child might have an evaluation with an occupational or physical therapist.  The evaluation will begin with a review of your child’s medical history, current medical condition and a discussion of your concerns.   The therapist will then complete a physical examination of your child. The therapist will also measure the child’s muscles, movement and daily function.  The  therapist will share the result of the evaluation with you.  Your child should come to the evaluation in loose clothing that will allow the child to move freely.
 

Treatment:

Your child’s therapist will design a treatment plan specifically for your child based on the evaluation and your goals.  Typical therapist interventions include;  strengthening exercises, stretching activities and movement training. Your therapist will provide a home program for you to use with your child on a regular basis.
 
Your therapist may work together with other healthcare professionals to help your child reach their goals.  
The therapist will also be teaching you to assist your own child by training you to direct frequent home and community activities.    
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