Spasticity is a condition in which certain muscles are overactive, causing stiffness or tightness, and sometimes pain. Spasticity is usually caused by a disruption of the nerve signals from the brain and spinal cord to the muscles. This can often occur in patients who have suffered a stroke, spinal cord or traumatic brain injury, and in persons with multiple sclerosis.
Evaluation of your medical history and a physical examination to include tests to evaluate your arm and leg movements, passive and active range of motion, and muscle activity, as well as your ability to perform activities of daily living are all utilized to help diagnose spasticity.
- Increased muscle tone that may be experienced as tightness, stiffness, or pain
- Difficulty relaxing muscles
- Overactive reflexes
- Involuntary movements
- Muscle spasms
- Difficulty moving certain joints
- Heightened muscle activity in response to muscle stretching
- Difficulty with personal care and hygiene
- Difficulty picking up objects
- Abnormal posture
- Low back pain
- Unusual speech patterns
- Difficulty sleeping
Treatment of spasticity may include physical and occupational therapy, botulinum toxin injections, oral medications, intrathecal therapy, orthotics, or surgery. As spasticity is so individualized, successful treatment requires a partnership as well as a coordination of care with you and the care team of physicians, nurses, and therapists all working together to minimize serious complications that can occur when spasticity is left untreated.
Texas Neurology is the best source of information about your spasticity and can offer recommendations for an individualized treatment plan. Schedule an appointment with one of our physicains who specialize in the treament of spasticity by calling 214.827.3610 or through the "request an appointment" feature on this page. In addition, there are many organizations that offer support, education, and services for patients who have spasticity. Please see resources below.
American Stroke Association
Brain Injury Association of America
National Stroke Association
National Multiple Sclerosis Society