We're getting close to Micah's 3rd birthday. Children with Down syndrome should have a few neck x-rays before their 3rd birthday to rule out atlantoaxial instability (AAI). Basically, the low muscle tone and lax ligaments that are present in most individuals with Down syndrome can cause vertebrae to become misaligned. AAI is when the C1 and C2 vertebrae are misaligned.
It's estimated that 10-20% of individuals with Down syndrome have asymptomatic AAI and 1-2% have symptomatic AAI. From what I've read, the asymptomatic isn't a huge deal, though playing contact sports like football would be a questionable decision.
Micah hasn't had these x-rays yet. I have the lab order from Micah's neurodevelopmental pediatrician and she recommended waiting until close to his 3rd birthday as it's easier to get a 3-yr-old to lay still on the x-ray table (um, yeah).
Here are some symptoms of symptomatic AAI:
•Lack of Coordination
•Walking with an abnormal gait (ie limping)
•Getting tired easily
•Nerve pain or limited ability to move the neck
•Spasticity - tightness in the muscles
•Clonus - muscle contractions or spasms
I'm looking forward to getting Micah's x-rays done. We met a sweet little girl in April who was at Children's in Minneapolis from November until July after her vertebrae collapsed and paralyzed her. She's doing great now and is back home in South Dakota.
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