Spasticity is a neurological symptom that causes muscles to stiffen, limiting normal movement. Though the cause of spasticity isn’t always clear, Haresh Sampathkumar, MD, and the interdisciplinary team at Delaware NeuroRehab recommend you seek testing and treatment right away. Ignoring spasticity symptoms can lead to health complications like frozen joints. Call the office in Dover, Delaware, today or schedule an appointment online for comprehensive spasticity care from a highly skilled team.
Spasticity causes muscles to contract and stiffen when you try to move them. They remain contracted and resist stretching, affecting movement.
The severity of the muscle contractions varies from mild to severe. Some people might experience only mild muscle tightening, while others could have painful, uncontrollable muscle contractions and spasms.
Spasticity isn’t the same as dystonia. Though dystonia disorders can cause uncontrollable muscle contractions, muscle activity with dystonia causes slow, painful movements or abnormal posturing. Spasticity causes an abnormal increase in muscle tone or tightness with no movement.
Spasticity occurs when there are problems in the areas of the brain or spinal cord that control muscle movement and stretching.
The problems can arise because of a disruption in messaging caused by an imbalance in the inhibitory and excitatory signals from the nervous system to the muscles, resulting in muscle stiffening. Inhibitory signals block the chemical messages from the nervous system, while excitatory signals help pass the chemical messages along.
Several neurological conditions can cause spasticity. These include spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis (MS), stroke, and brain injury.
When left undiagnosed and untreated, spasticity can lead to complications like frozen joints (contractures), dislocations, and fractures.
When evaluating spasticity, the Delaware NeuroRehab team conducts a thorough history and physical exam to determine which testing you need. The goal of testing is to determine what caused your spasticity and how much damage it’s done.
Testing can include a neurological exam, bloodwork, and an MRI. The team also performs functional testing to assess your physical abilities.
The Delaware NeuroRehab team designs individual treatment plans for spasticity, personalizing programs to match your specific needs. Treatment can include:
In severe cases, the team will recommend baclofen pump therapy. This involves placing a medical device in your abdomen that pumps baclofen directly into your spinal fluid, reducing spasticity and pain. Baclofen is a pain reliever that improves muscle movement in patients with spasticity and diseases like multiple sclerosis (MS).
The team uses similar therapies and medication to treat dystonia. However, dystonia comes in many forms, affecting one area of the body or the entire body, and the team customizes care based on the symptoms.
Call Delaware NeuroRehab today or schedule an appointment online for expert spasticity care from a highly skilled team.