Spasticity is a condition with involuntary constant muscle contraction, causing muscles to shorten and become stiff and inflexible.
Causes and Symptoms of Spasticity
Spasticity can be caused by injuries, diseases and other conditions that damage part of the brain such as the motor cortex.
Accidents or other harm to the brain that can generate spasticity:
Spinal cord injury
Traumatic brain injury
Anoxic brain injury also called cerebral hypoxia
Diseases and disorders can contribute to spasticity such as multiple sclerosis and cerebral palsy.
Other conditions can also bring about spasticity such as a stroke, encephalitis, and meningitis.
Symptoms of spasticity:
discomfort or pain in the affected muscle
low back pain
tightness in the joints
involuntary contracting and releasing muscles (spasms)
protracted muscle contractions (dystonia)
fast, repeated uncontrolled movements (clonus)
inability to stretch muscle into normal position due to hypertonia (increased muscle tone, so much that it’s difficult to extend the muscle)
The overly tight muscles can impair daily functions along with
abnormal postures or positions, and
involuntary crossing of legs or scissoring.
Over time spasticity, if left untreated, may result in:
deformities of the bone and joint
muscles stiffening into permanent contractions, a condition called contracture
How Is Spasticity Diagnosed?
Along with your medical history, your doctor will perform a physical exam and neurological testing. Medical imaging tests such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans will provide additional information.
Nerve conduction tests may be used to measure the electrical function of the nerves and muscles.
Advanced Treatments for Spasticity at NSPC
Non-surgical treatments can include physical therapy, braces and medications.
Botulinum Toxin (Botox) injections can target specific muscles, but only a limited amount of injections can be repeated in the same area.
Surgical treatments for spasticity
Neurological Surgery, P.C. (NSPC) has an expert multidisciplinary team of neurosurgeons with a range of neurosurgical subspecialties and related fields. NSPC offers the most advanced treatments for brain and spine disorders.
Intrathecal Baclofen Pump (baclofen is a muscle relaxant), the injection is administered directly into the spinal fluid via a pump that is placed under the skin of the abdomen to deliver a continual flow of medication.
Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy is the removal of dysfunctional nerve roots that miscommunicate with spastic limbs. This procedure may help improve the gait and mobility of children with certain forms of cerebral palsy.
NSPC specialists are here in our Long Island, NY centers to help you or a loved one understand the condition and the treatment options. Get in touch to speak with a recognized and respected movement disorder physician.