Has Your Infant Been Diagnosed With Spina Bifida?

Finding out that your infant or toddler has spina bifida can be an incredibly stressful and confusing experience. Learning how to care for your child and ensure that he or she is on the best possible track for growth may not come easily to you, but you’re not alone.

According to ChoosePT, “Spina bifida is a birth defect that develops when an infant’s spinal cord does not completely close during the early stages of the mother’s pregnancy. Spina bifida is diagnosed in approximately 1,500 babies born in the United States each year. The birth defect may cause both physical and intellectual disabilities.”

If your infant has been diagnosed with spina bifida and you’re at a loss for how to monitor and improve their strength and growth, contact Partners in Physical Therapy in Lake Charles, LA.

Symptoms & Causes of Spina Bifida

Spina bifida can be caused by an array of different factors, many of which are not entirely understood by medical professionals. According to Healthline, some of the suspected reasonings behind the condition include a lack of folic acid during pregnancy, genetics, environmental factors, obesity, or unmonitored diabetes.

Infants are typically diagnosed before birth with spina bifida. There are a few different types of the condition listed below.

  • Meningocele: The spinal cord does develop properly with this condition, and there are little to no symptoms at birth other than a small opening in the child’s back at birth, and a visible sack of fluid.
  • Myelomeningocele: This condition causes multiple disabilities such as incontinence or problems going to the bathroom, as well as trouble moving legs and feet. Children with this condition often experience seizures, have uneven hips that affect their gait, and scoliosis (spine curvature).
  • Spina Bifida Occulta (SBO): This condition has been coined as “hidden” spina bifida because it often doesn’t show symptoms (until the child is much older) or result in disabilities. However, some symptoms include a small dimple or patch of hair on a baby’s back at birth, as well as a gap in vertebrae. Some people may never even realize it if they have this condition.

How Can Partners in Physical Therapy Help Infants With Spina Bifida?

Physical therapy can help both adults and children with spina bifida improve mobility, coordination, muscle strength, and flexibility. Your child’s physical therapist will:

  • Do a full evaluation of your child’s condition
  • Look at their medical history & ask health related questions
  • Assess their muscle strength, coordination, and flexibility
  • Complete multiple motor development tests

From there, a customized treatment plan will be created for your child’s needs to ensure that they’re on the right track for improvement. This treatment plan will likely include strength exercises and targeted stretches, as well as the use of assistive technology such as braces or walkers to help increase functional mobility.

A Partners in Physical Therapy physical therapist’s ultimate goal is to help encourage your child’s overall strength, coordination, and balance, as well as help you understand your child’s needs.

Contact Our Office Today For a Consultation

Your child’s growth and development is important to us. If your infant has been diagnosed with spina bifida, or shows any of the above mentioned signs of spina bifida, contact Partners in Physical Therapy in Lake Charles, LA today to learn more about your available treatment options.