The Daughter Chronicles

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

More aid for Mia!

Mia's physical therapist had an idea. He has been trying it out with another patient, and it has worked well, so he thought he'd try with Mia. His premise is that when kids are too small to walk, they get tummy time. Okay, that's not his premise, but his premise is that because they have tummy time, they breathe against something hard (the floor) and the resistance this creates help build strong chest muscles. Therefore, when they stand up, their muscles are strong enough to stabilize them and they don't have any problems. Mia, of course, didn't get a lot of tummy time when she was small. She was just starting to roll over when she had her accident, and then, after that, she spent a lot of time on her back before re-learning to roll over. Therefore her chest muscles are developed terribly well.

So what? you might ask. Well, her PT theorizes that this might have something to do with the fact that her hips aren't terribly stable. One side of her chest is stronger than the other, and because neither side is very strong, it throws off the alignment of her entire body and makes her hips weaker and messes up her balance. It makes a fair amount of sense, and he decided to do something about it. He came up with a vest made of neoprene and wrapped it around her torso. He made it as tight as he could and strapped it with velcro. Then he told us to make her wear it for 2-3 hours a day. This, in theory, would constrict her chest muscles and make her work harder to breathe, strengthening the muscles in the process. This would help her body align.

It might sound a tad barbaric, but it doesn't hurt her in any way. She actually doesn't mind wearing it at all. Well, maybe that's going a bit far, but she doesn't complain about it like she complains about wearing her AFOs. It's constrictive, sure, but she can breathe fine - in fact, I wonder if it needs to be tighter, because he said she might take deep breaths every once in a while because her muscles would be tired, and she doesn't seem to do that. He's going to check her soon to see if she needs it tighter or looser, but it doesn't seem to be bothering her. He said it's a long process - at least 2 years, because we obviously don't want her in it all the time, and it takes a while to build muscle - but if it helps her, I'm all for it. He videotaped her before we began and will tape her again periodically to check the contours of her chest.

It's just one of the many fun things we can try with Mia. The nice thing about it is that unlike some medication she can take, there's nothing really that can wrong with this. I watch her every night when she's wearing the vest, and it doesn't bother her at all. And if it strengthens her muscles, then it's a good thing. We'll see!


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