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What are hypotonia (low tone) and hypertonia (high tone)?

What are hypotonia (low tone) and hypertonia (high tone)?

Published: Oct. 27, 2022

Muscle tone is sometimes described as a muscle’s passive tension or resistance to being stretched. Abnormal muscle tone can cause difficulties with the movement and coordination of both the body’s large muscle groups and other muscles throughout the body.

Hypotonia affects each person differently and refers to a lack or loss of muscle tone. It can also affect the lungs and the muscles of the mouth, causing difficulties with breathing and eating.

People with hypertonia have too much muscle tone, resulting in stiff muscles. Spasticity is a type of hypertonia where movement increases muscle spasms. It is associated with exaggerated or strong reflexes. Rigidity is characterized by consistent stiffness regardless of movement. Both physical therapy and medication can be used to treat hypertonia depending on underlying conditions and the individual’s specific needs.

To learn more about physical therapy, see this article.

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