Exploring The Stages Of Spinal Atrophy And Treatment

Child in pain

Spinal Muscular Atrophy is a hereditary condition. In SMA, the muscles in the body are weakened when the nerves in the spine and brain aren’t working correctly. SMA is considered the primary genetic cause of infant deaths. The gene affected by SMA is the gene that controls motor function. In most SMA cases, the genes for motor function are missing. The gene that most people with SMA have that is duplicated is the SMN2 gene. This gene only produces a minute amount of functional proteins. The more duplicates of the SMN2 gene a person has, the less severe the condition is.


Exploring The Types Of Spinal Atrophy And Treatment

When a child is diagnosed with SMA, there are four types they could be diagnosed with. Those are:

  • Type 1: This is the most common SMA type and is often classified as the most severe. When a child is diagnosed with Type 1 SMA, your pediatrician can call it Werdnig-Hoffman disease. Children with Type 1 SMA have trouble moving, sitting up independently, and often can’t breathe correctly. Their ability to breastfeed, eat, and swallow is also affected. Most children with this type of SMA are diagnosed at around six months old and often don’t live past two. 
  • Type 2: Children with Type 2 SMA might be able to sit upright without support, but they often cannot walk without assistance. Symptoms for Type 2 SMA usually happen between six and eighteen months. If the symptoms are less severe, children with Type 2 SMA can live average lifespans.
  • Type 3: Type 3 SMA is a mild form of SMA. Physicians also call Type 3 Kugelberg-Welander disease, which can often be confused with muscular dystrophy. Children with Type 3 SMA can walk but often have difficulty doing so. Some children may have to use a wheelchair. Symptoms display at around eighteen months, but your child can still live an average lifespan with Type 3 SMA.
  • Type 4: Type 4 is the rarest form of SMA. Symptoms for Type 4 SMA present in early adulthood, causing only mild motor impairment.


Symptoms of SMA differ depending on the type of SMA your child is diagnosed with. If your child has Type 1 SMA, they’ll have more noticeable, severe symptoms in the earliest stages of life. If your child has Type 2 or 3 SMA, their symptoms might not be noticed until they’re a year old. If someone in your family was diagnosed with SMA, your chances of being a carrier increase. When both parents carry the SMA gene, there is a twenty-five percent chance your child will have SMA.


Diagnosis and Treatment for SMA With Delaware Valley Pain and Spine Institute

When your child is diagnosed with SMA, it can be a terrifying diagnosis to hear. But at Delaware Valley Pain and Spine Institute, we’re trained to help you treat your child’s SMA. We’ll ensure you’re aware of what this diagnosis means, and we’ll help you understand the treatments available. Call us if you’re concerned about your child’s spinal health.


Dr. Todd A. Bromberg, M.D. When chronic pain and spinal issues impact your quality of life, you need a team of crack spine and pain specialists at your disposal. Delaware Valley Pain & Spine Institute works with some of the most respected experts in the field to bring pain relief and restored quality of life to patients in Pennsylvania and New Jersey!
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