Infant Lack of Control of Muscles

Infants experiencing lack of muscle control can indicate a number of things, ranging from mild problems associated with temporary health issues, to more serious problems that require long-term care. If your baby is experience muscle problems, you should always consult with a physician as soon as possible to determine how serious the issue may be, and to uncover any underlying medical issues.

Exaggerated Reflexes and Spasticity

Infants who demonstrate absent reflexes or exaggerated reflexes or spasticity generally indicates a neurological or muscular problem.  If your child reflects exaggerated reflexes or spasticity, this could be characteristic of cerebral palsy.

Cerebral palsy is a neurological disorder often caused from oxygen deprivation at birth. Being deprived of oxygen for too long, the brain goes into an emergency response, destroying the normal neural pathways between the brain and the muscle groups. Children with slight versions of the disability may still experience muscle rigidity, exaggerated reflexes, and spasticity.

Children with more severe forms of this disability may experience seizures, muscle spasms over all of the muscle groups (not just the limbs), and intellectual disability.

In rare instances, infants who have exaggerated reflexes may have a condition known as hyeperkplexia; a disorder marked by:

  • Jerking movements
  • Abnormal arching of the head
  • Exaggerated reflexes
  • Difficulties in breathing

Writhing Movements

Writhing movement are another way of infantslosing control over their muscular control. Writhing movements are hard to define, but are often seen as slow, seemingly calculated movements of undulating muscles. However, they’re not calculated: infants with writhing muscles do so with little to no control.

Why does this happen? This is another symptom of cerebral palsy, again, a neurological disorder that appears to be a muscular disorder. This injury manifests as a muscular injury transmitted from the brain, overriding all of the commands that the child may try to control of his or her muscles.

Uncontrollable Blinking

Because cerebral palsy overrides the commands of the brain and its control over certain muscle groups, another characteristic of cerebral palsy could be uncontrollable blinking. Children can’t control the spasticity of their limbs, often they can’t control their mouths long enough to close it to keep from drooling, and often uncontrollable blinking is another neural override command.

Dystonia disorder is another neurological disorder that affects muscular groups and has similar symptoms of cerebral palsy, except dystonia disorder doesn’t simultaneously involve intellectual disabilities. Sometimes a child may exhibit signs of both cerebral palsy or dystonia disorder, and the uncontrollable blinking may be stronger in the diagnosis of dystonia disorder than it is of cerebral palsy.

Other possible reasons for uncontrollable blinking may include:

  • Myokymia
  • Bell’s Palsy
  • Habit Spasms, also known as facial tics


Lack of control of muscles may also be an indication of hypotonia. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), babies with hypotonia may have a rag-doll type appearance, meaning they may have lack of head control and extended and loose limbs, such as flexed knees and elbows.

Hyptononia can occur for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Brain damage, stemming from oxygen deprivation
  • Additional disorders, including muscular dystrophy
  • Infections
  • Genetic disorders