Does Spasticity Cause Muscle Atrophy?

Muscle spasticity is an everyday occurrence for people with cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, and other similar conditions. In fact, research estimates that over 12 million people around the world struggle with muscle spasticity, which can make their lives more difficult.

When muscle spasticity develops at a young age, it can lead to motor problems, growth issues, deformed joints, and a higher incidence of disability. The cause is usually linked to nerve damage, and the treatment requires a comprehensive approach with medication, physical therapy, regular exercise, and for severe cases, surgery.

People experiencing spasticity often wonder if it can cause muscle atrophy. Read on to learn more about it.

What Is Muscle Spasticity and Why Do You Experience It?

This phenomenon refers to involuntary spasms, contractions, or stiffness in your muscles. The intensity can range from mild to severe and cause real damage by preventing normal fluid movement. Muscle spasticity can affect your motor movements and make it harder to walk or perform any actions requiring motor abilities.

The cause of muscle spasticity often stems from damaged nerves, which disrupt standard nerve signals. That causes over or under activity, affecting the coordination of muscles and leading to involuntary spasms.

This nerve damage can be a result of injury or another condition. That includes:

  • Cerebral palsy
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Stroke
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

What Are Muscle Spasticity Symptoms?

Besides experiencing involuntary spasms, people with this condition may also have other symptoms, such as:

  • Muscle stiffness
  • Pain
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle weakness
  • Involuntary crossing of legs
  • Frozen joints
  • Impaired growth
  • Poor posture
  • Joint deformities
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Involuntary jerky movements

Depending on the accompanying symptoms, a medical professional can determine what is causing spasticity and propose adequate treatment to manage the condition.

Can Spasticity Cause Muscle Atrophy?

Muscle atrophy can occur for many reasons, including malnutrition, lack of physical activity, genetics, or nerve damage. So, spasms don’t cause muscle atrophy, but these two conditions often occur in patients with multiple sclerosis, which is why they believe one causes the other.

However, muscle spasms can point to nerve damage and reveal a higher risk of experiencing muscle atrophy. That’s why people should visit a medical professional as soon as they observe the symptoms.

Muscle Spasticity Treatment

Muscle spasticity treatment focuses on addressing the underlying condition, relieving stiffness, eliminating pain, and stimulating growth. That usually requires a combined approach of medication, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and in some instances, surgery.

Because muscle spasms can be triggered by fatigue, tight clothing, stress, extreme temperatures, sudden movements, or infections, your doctor will recommend some lifestyle changes to minimize these triggers. That may include being active, getting enough sleep, following a healthy eating plan, eliminating stressors, avoiding hot and cold temperatures, stretching, and wearing loose-fit clothing.

Where to Get Adequate Treatment for Muscle Spasticity?

If muscle spasticity and pain make your life more difficult, Dr. Jeffrey Pruski and Dr. Edward Nash from the 3R (Regenerative, Repair & Relief) can help. With extensive experience using regenerative medicine to help patients like you, we have been able to help many people overcome their problems and lead happier lives. Click here to learn how to schedule a consultation with our experts and get long-lasting pain relief.


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