Muscle Spasticity


A disruption in patterns of muscle movement that makes the muscles to contract all at once is called spasticity. The movements of the muscle are regulated by a complex system that ensures some muscles tighten (contract) while others relax. Nerve damage in the central nervous system can obstruct this pattern, and this results in many muscles contracting all at once. This health condition can be seen in cerebral palsy, stroke, traumatic brain injury, multiple sclerosis, and other health conditions that affect both the spinal cord and/or the brain. Spasticity can occur in the arms, but they mostly occur in the legs.

What Causes Spasticity?

Spasticity can be caused by contrasting signals coming from the central nervous system—that spinal cord and the brain to the muscles. The imbalance of signals is mostly seen in individuals with stroke, traumatic brain injury, cerebral palsy, spinal cord injury and multiple sclerosis.

Symptoms of Spasticity

  • Pain
  • Overactive reflexes
  • Increased muscle tone
  • Abnormal posture
  • Difficulty with hygiene and care
  • Involuntary movements such as spasms and clonus
  • Bone and joint deformities
  • Contractures (a permanent contraction of the tendon and muscle due to severe recurrent spasms and stiffness.
  • Reduced quality of life

How Painful Is Spasticity?

Spasticity pain can be a mild painful feeling, but it can also be extremely severe to release painful spasms of the extremities, usually the legs. Spasticity can also be a cause for low back pain, and its outcomes are pain or tightness around and in the joints.

Diagnosing Spasticity

Usually, health experts will evaluate the medical history of the patient to ensure an accurate diagnosis of spasticity is achieved. The doctor will check for previously administered medications and if the patient has a history of muscular or neurological disorders in the patient’s family or even in the patient.

Many tests will be carried out to confirm the diagnosis. These tests check your leg and arm movements, active and passive range of motion, muscular activity, and capability of performing self-care activities.

Treatment Options

There are various available types of treatments available for spasticity that is must be evaluated on an individual case basis. This treatment option takes into consideration the age of the patient, underlying cause, and severity of the spasticity. Some of its different treatment options have common goals like:

  • Enhancing hygiene, gait, ease of care and daily living activities
  • Relieving the symptoms and signs of spasticity
  • Decreasing the frequency and pain of muscle contractions
  • Enhancing normal muscle growth in kids
  • Enhancing voluntary motor functions which involve interaction with objects like grasping, reaching for, releasing and moving

At 3R (Regenerative Repair & Relief), our spasticity doctor highly values the necessity of an interdisciplinary approach. If your spasticity condition isn’t offered by 3R (Regenerative Repair & Relief), we will refer you to other pain management doctors. Contact us now to evaluate if you qualify.