Spasticity is a medical condition involving the tightening of muscles, restricting normal movement. Muscles are contracted and unable to relax, leading to difficulty performing tasks, muscle pain and fatigue, and other symptoms.
Causes of Spasticity
Spasticity can be the result of damage to the brain or spinal cord in the area controlling muscle movement. Spasticity can be caused by:
- Cerebral palsy
- Multiple sclerosis
- Brain or spinal cord trauma
Symptoms of Spasticity
Spasticity symptoms can vary from mild to severe and include:
- Muscle stiffness
- Muscle spasms
- Muscle pain
- Muscle fatigue
- Joint and muscle deformities
- Lack of muscle growth
When To See a Doctor for Spasticity
It’s important for people experiencing spasticity symptoms to seek out a doctor if:
- A spasticity episode is experienced for the first time
- Spasticity episodes are getting worse
- Spasticity episodes are getting more frequent
- Spasticity episodes are painful
- Normal fluid movements are limited
- Spasticity episodes are affecting quality of life
How Spasticity Is Diagnosed
Spasticity may be diagnosed through a comprehensive neurological examination, including neurological testing. Imaging studies including MRI are also helpful.
Spasticity Treatment Options
Treatment for spasticity may include several options such as:
- Physical therapy to gain strength and range-of-motion
- Occupational therapy to improve coordination and ability to perform tasks
- Wearing casts or braces to control spasms and muscle tightening
- Medications to help with sleep or performing daily tasks
Surgical treatment options may be recommended if non-invasive treatments don’t help. Surgical options include:
- Placing a pump which delivers a steady dose of medication to the spinal cord
- Rebalancing electrical signals sent to the spinal cord by cutting some nerve roots. This treatment may be used in patients with cerebral palsy.
If you or someone you know is experiencing spasticity, it can dramatically affect quality of life. Your doctor can help manage spasticity.
To find out more about spasticity and spasticity treatment, call Dr. Mehta at Braincare Brain Injury & Stroke Rehab, in Franklin, TN, serving residents of Franklin and the Nashville area. You can reach her in the office by calling (615) 450-6758, so call now.