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Spasticity

Spasticity results from damage to the area of the brain and spinal cord that controls muscle and stretch reflexes. It is associated with neurological conditions. Spasticity affects more than 12 million people across the world. This muscle control disorder can manifest in varying degrees in individuals with:

  • Brain Injury
  • Spinal Cord Injury
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Stroke

Symptoms include:

  • Tight or Stiff Muscles
  • Pain
  • Hyperactive Reflexes – Reflexes that last too long and are too strong
  • Involuntary Movements
  • Delayed Motor development
  • Bone & Joint Deformities
  • Poor Posture
  • Difficulty Walking
  • Difficulty with Everyday Tasks

This condition affects muscles and joints, making it particularly harmful to growing children. If left untreated, spasticity also has the ability to cause complications including:

  • Permanent Joint Deformity
  • UTI
  • Fever
  • Chronic Constipation
  • Frozen Joints
  • Pressure Sores

Diagnosing Spasticity

Diagnosing this condition can be complicated due to the varying degrees in which it can occur. In addition to a physical exam, neurological testing will be conducted along with MRI. Your doctor will seek to learn and understand your symptoms as well as explore your medical history.

Treatments for Spasticity

Several treatments exist to improve comfort, mobility, and independence for those experiencing spasticity.

  • Physical Therapy – An exercise regimen that involves stretching and strengthening to improve mobility and range of motion.
  • Occupational Therapy – Improves strength and coordination in small muscle groups that impact the ability to perform everyday tasks. Speech therapy might also be included depending on the symptoms.
  • Oral Medications – Used in combination with other therapies, these may include:
    • Baclofen
    • Benzodiazepines
    • Dantrolene sodium
    • Imidazolines
    • Gabapentin
  • Local Injections – Small amounts of Botox injected into specified locations to paralyze the spastic muscles.
  • Surgery – There are two surgical procedure options. One implants a baclofen pump and the other cuts the pathway between the nerve and the muscle.
  • Deep Brain Stimulation – This minimally invasive surgery is also being explored as a potential treatment option.

Schedule Your Appointment

The Desert Care Network team is on your side to help you or your loved one navigate your symptoms. Schedule an appointment today to start your journey towards a better way of life.