While children generally cannot grow out of dystonia, it does usually plateau early in childhood. The National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) does report that the condition may spontaneously disappear in rare cases, although this is not common.
In most cases, symptoms appear in infants between birth and age two. Their condition may worsen between the time initial symptoms appear, and when the plateau occurs.
Dystonia is made up of many different disorders, which cause a wide range of symptoms and occur in mild, moderate, or severe forms. Since it affects each child differently, there is no way to know if your child will have mild, intermittent symptoms or severe symptoms that cause difficulty with mobility, purposeful movement, and other activities.
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Why Children Experience Dystonia
Dystonia is the result of damage to the part of the brain that works to control coordination and steadiness, and prevent involuntary movement: the basal ganglia. Damage to the basal ganglia can cause problems with these functions, resulting in symptoms that include:
- Repetitive, involuntary movements.
- Abnormal posturing.
- Uncontrollable twisting.
These symptoms may affect any part of your child’s body, including the:
- Head and neck.
- Arms and hands.
- Legs and feet.
- Vocal cords and throat.
When dystonia symptoms appear in a baby, it may be the result of an injury to the brain that occurred during pregnancy or delivery. Research continues into other causes of dystonia, including genetics passed down from parents.
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Treating Dystonia in Infants and Children
While your child will likely not grow out of dystonia, treatment may relieve the symptoms and prevent complications. There is no cure, but treatment generally includes some or all of the following:
- Botulinum toxin (botox)
The goal of most of these treatments is to block the nerve signals between the brain and the muscles, stopping or lessening the symptoms. Botox and other medications may allow you to manage your child’s symptoms, and surgery may offer more relief.
Surgery for dystonia symptoms usually includes deep brain stimulation (DBS) implants. A DBS implant is a tiny device that delivers electrical shocks to the affected area of the brain to short circuit the inappropriate signals it produces.
With treatment, children with mild and moderate dystonia symptoms can generally manage their condition and improve their quality of life. They may require occupational therapy and additional treatment to learn how to live with any remaining symptoms.
Your Child’s Symptoms May Point to a Birth Injury
In some cases, children who develop dystonia do so as a result of preventable birth trauma or other instances of medical malpractice. This may occur when a doctor fails to identify a complication during the pregnancy or delivery.
For example, a doctor should notice if a baby may be too big for a vaginal birth, which can lead to prolonged labor if the child gets stuck in the birth canal. Pressure in the birth canal can cause the baby to suffer a traumatic brain injury such as a hemorrhage or stroke, due to loss of oxygen flow to the brain.
If you believe medical negligence played a role in your child’s injury, you may want to speak to a birth injury lawyer near you about your case and your legal options. If the attorney believes you have a viable case against the doctor, care provider, or hospital, you may be able to file a claim and seek a financial recovery. Recoverable damages may include:
- Medical care costs, including medications, surgery, and therapy.
- Ongoing care expenses, depending on your child’s symptoms and prognosis.
- Time away from work, if you need to take leave to care for your child.
- Out-of-pocket expenses related to your child’s condition.
- Pain and suffering that your child experiences.
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Get Help Today from the Birth Injury Lawyers Group
You can speak with a member of the Birth Injury Lawyers Group team about your child’s case at no cost to you. Our birth injury attorneys pursue damages for qualifying families. If you allow us to take on your case, one of our team members can help you understand:
- The applicable statutes and timelines in a birth injury case.
- The steps required to navigate the claims process.
- The relevant medical records and other evidence you will need.
- The requirement for obtaining an expert’s opinion in your case.
Call (800) 222-9529 now to discuss your legal options with a team member.