Spasticity is a condition that results in involuntary muscle contractions and stiffness in the muscles. It is caused by damage to the part of the brain or spinal cord that controls voluntary muscle movement. Common causes of spasticity include stroke, traumatic brain injury, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, and spinal cord injury.
The hallmark symptom of spasticity is muscle stiffness, which can range from mild to severe. The stiffness can make it difficult to move the affected muscles and may also cause pain and discomfort. Muscle spasms and jerking movements may also occur, especially in response to sudden movements or changes in position.
Other symptoms associated with spasticity may include:
Treatment for spasticity typically involves a combination of therapies aimed at reducing muscle stiffness and improving function. Treatment options may include:
Medications: Medications that reduce muscle stiffness and spasms, such as baclofen and diazepam, may be used to manage spasticity.
Physical therapy: Physical therapy and other rehabilitative therapies can help improve muscle strength, flexibility, and range of motion, as well as prevent muscle contractures.
Occupational therapy: Occupational therapy can help individuals with spasticity learn techniques to manage daily activities, such as dressing and grooming.
Botulinum toxin injections: Injections of botulinum toxin, commonly known as Botox, can help reduce muscle stiffness and improve range of motion.
Surgery: In some cases, surgery may be recommended to release tight muscles and improve joint range of motion.