What is Muscle Strength?
Muscle strength is defined as the amount of force produced by a muscle during a single contraction when maximal effort is exerted.
What causes variance in muscle strength?
Muscle strength is dependent on several factors, most of which are physiological in nature. They include size of muscle cells, ability of the body’s nerves to initiate and continue firing of the muscle cells, and muscle tone.
Decreased muscle strength can be caused by several factors both acute and chronic in nature. Chronic factors include most syndromes that impact a child’s development, and other muscular, metabolic and neurological disorders. Acute factors causing decreased muscle strength include deconditioning due to hospitalization. Finally, muscle strength can decrease due a sedentary lifestyle.
How do I know if my child has decreased muscle strength?
Children who are born with a predisposition for decreased muscle strength or weakness typically present with delayed attainment of gross and fine motor skills.
How can I help treat my child’s condition?
Muscle weakness caused by a sedentary lifestyle typically can be resolved by engagement in physically demanding activities; even something as simple as an increased walking schedule or engagement in other physical activities can improve muscle strength. However, occupational and/or physical therapy may be warranted. Children with decreased muscle strength due to other factors that are physiological in nature or caused by acute illnesses will require occupational and/or physical therapy treatment in order to progressively and appropriately improve muscle strength.
Our approach at North Shore Pediatric Therapy
Our physical and occupational therapists are highly specialized to work within the pediatric population. We will first complete an evaluation to determine your child’s current skills and muscle strength. If deemed beneficial physical and/or occupational therapy services on a consistent basis will be initiated. A home exercise program will be created for your child that will be motivating and appropriate for your child’s needs. Parent/caregiver training will also be provided to ensure that the home exercise program is properly completed.