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Neuroscience Institute

Spasticity Program

What is Spasticity?

Affecting more than 12 million people worldwide, spasticity is a muscle disorder that causes an abnormal increase in muscle tone, or muscle stiffness. It can limit movement, cause discomfort, and reduce function, making things like eating, dressing, sitting, or walking more difficult.

Spasticity Symptoms

Spasticity can affect muscles in any part of the body, including the arms, legs, neck, and back. Symptoms can vary from person to person and day to day. The most common symptoms of spasticity include:

  • Exaggerated reflexes
  • Involuntary movements
  • Muscle spasms
  • Tight/stiff muscles
  • Difficulty relaxing muscles
  • Limited/loss of range of motion
  • Fixed joints, called contractures

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, a spasticity consultation can start you on the road towards pain relief and functional improvement.

Causes of Spasticity

Spasticity is caused by a disruption of the connections from the brain or spinal cord to your muscles. This causes your normal muscle reflexes to be hyperactive, causing an abnormal increase in muscle tone. It can be seen in neurological conditions, such as:

  • Stroke
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Brain injury
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Cerebral palsy

Spasticity can be triggered by any noxious, or painful, stimuli. Most commonly, triggers may include:

  • Constipation
  • Urinary retention
  • Infections, such as a urinary tract infection
  • Cold weather
  • Pressure ulcers, or skin breakdown
  • Changing positions or sudden movement
  • Stress

When To Seek Treatment

Severe spasticity can lead to frozen joints, or joint contractures. Since it can restrict movement, it can also lead to pressure ulcers on your skin, or skin breakdown.

Contact your doctor if:

  • You’re experiencing spasticity for the first time
  • Your spasticity is getting more severe, or happening more frequently
  • Your spasticity is interfering with everyday tasks, such as dressing, eating, bathing, walking
  • Your spasticity has changed considerably
  • You have a frozen joint
  • You have pressure sores or red skin
  • Your level of discomfort or pain is increasing
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Spasticity is Treatable

If you think you may have spasticity and it is interfering with your daily activities, the Spasticity Program is here to help. Our experts will work with you to create an individualized treatment plan to help preserve movement and restore function. Call us today at 585.723.7972 to get started.
Schedule a Spasticity Consultation Today