Medical Specialty >> Neurology

Doctors Lounge - Neurology Answers

Back to Neurology Answers List

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately. Doctors Lounge ( does not recommend or endorse any specific tests, physicians, products, procedures, opinions, or other information that may be mentioned on the Site.

DISCLAIMER: The information provided on is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her physician. Please read our 'Terms and Conditions of Use' carefully before using this site.

Date of last update: 10/04/2017.

Forum Name: Neurology Topics

Question: 2 year old stiffens limbs/back for hours

 vylett - Sun Dec 30, 2007 11:44 am

My 2 year old daughter stiffens her limbs and her back for hours at a time. She has done this since she was 5 months old. What initially triggered this stiffening was when we put her in her walker, then when she was put in a shopping cart or high chair. I could not break her of these spells when she was a baby, but now that she is older I can physically break her of them.

Once she was in a shopping cart and she stiffened so long that she went unconscious for about 10 seconds. Another time she was sitting in her chair at a small talbe and she laid her hands flat on the table and stiffened for almost an hour. When I physically broke her from it, I could not bend her legs at all. Other times, in her high chair she stiffend and her legs began to shake uncontrollably.

At 1 and a half I took her to a pediatric neurologist. Because he did not see her stiffen (no triggers at the doctors office) he said he didn't think it was anything neurological - just behavioral. Now that she is almost 3 she has begun to stiffen by just sitting on the floor or by leaning against a hard surface. I asked her why she does this "thing" and she said it feels good on her lower back. She also has a small buldge in this area. She runs into everything as if her coordination is off and she trips on air. I thought she was just clumsy, but maybe it has something to do with her stiffening.

Could this be a form of cerebral palsy? Have you ever heard of these symptoms before? I feel like no one will listen to my concerns and I don't think anyone takes me seriously. I do plan on taking her back to the neurologist. Can you please suggest what information or proof I should take to the doctor.
 Dr. Chan Lowe - Mon Jan 14, 2008 8:25 pm

User avatar Hi Vylett,

I'm a bit concerned about this. It may be a seizure disorder although the length of time they are continuing argues against this some. If it were a seizure I would expect her to be extremely tired after one of these prolonged episodes.

Cerebral palsy is possible but the issues with cerebral palsy should not come and go. By definition, cerebral palsy is a constant, static condition of the musculature as well as mental deficits. (Static meaning they are not getting worse, although over time some worsening can occur simply due to the consequences of cerebral palsy rather than the CP itself.)

This may also be a learned habit but 5 month olds would not be expected to perform such learned behaviors as this.

I would recommend your daughter see a pediatrician to be fully evaluated, looking for any sign of changes in her neurological or muscular exam. She may also need to follow up with a pediatric neurologist if her pediatrician is concerned.

Best wishes.

| Check a doctor's response to similar questions

Are you a Doctor, Pharmacist, PA or a Nurse?

Join the Doctors Lounge online medical community

  • Editorial activities: Publish, peer review, edit online articles.

  • Ask a Doctor Teams: Respond to patient questions and discuss challenging presentations with other members.

Doctors Lounge Membership Application

Tools & Services: Follow DoctorsLounge on Twitter Follow us on Twitter | RSS News | Newsletter | Contact us