Spasticity

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Spasticity is a condition in which individual muscle contract continually, or in some early cases, sporadically. These contractions cause muscle stiffness, spasms, cramps or tightness and may interfere with movement, speech, and gait. In Superficial Siderosis it’s caused by damage to descending motor pathways at the brainstem or spinal cord levels that control the a-motor neurons.

Mild spasticity will present as a constant feeling of tightness in your muscles, tightness in your joints, low back pain, and muscle fatigue. Muscle stiffness will affect your movement and motor skills. Severe spasticity can become progressively painful. In the acute stage, muscle contractions become uncontrollable resulting in muscle and joint deformities. Movement, speech, and gait are all affected.

Physical and occupational therapy for spasticity will help maintain or improve range of motion, mobility, coordination and increase your comfort. Treatments include stretching and strengthening exercises, limb positioning, application of cold packs, electrical muscle stimulation, and biofeedback.

 

Updated: December 15, 2017

 

Source: Kheder A, Nair KP. Spasticity: pathophysiology, evaluation, and management. Pract Neurol. 2012 Oct. 12(5):289-98. [Medline].
Sahin N, Ugurlu H, Karahan AY. Efficacy of therapeutic ultrasound in the treatment of spasticity: a randomized controlled study. NeuroRehabilitation. 2011. 29(1):61-6. [Medline].
Burridge JH, Wood DE, Hermens HJ, Voerman GE, Johnson GR, van Wijck F, et al. Theoretical and methodological considerations in the measurement of spasticity. Disabil Rehabil. 2005 Jan 7-21. 27(1-2):69-80. [Medline]

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