Spasticity (related to stroke, brain injury, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, and spinal cord injury)

What is Spasticity?

Spasticity is a condition in which muscles stiffen or tighten, preventing normal fluid movement. Symptoms include increased muscle tone, clonus, muscle spasms, and fixed joints or contractures.  Spasticity might also interfere with hygiene, or it can cause discomfort or pain.  It is usually caused by damage to nerve pathways within the brain or spinal cord that control muscle movement. It may occur in association with:

  • Stroke
  • Brain or head trauma
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

What services does the pain clinic offer?

  • Help with the diagnosis and coordination of care for spasticity
  • Medications such as baclofen, diazepam, or tizanidine.
  • Coordinating physical therapy regimens including muscle stretching and range of motion.
  • Targeted injection of botulinum toxin (Botox, Dysport) into select muscles to improve range of motion and function.  
  • Surgery may be recommended though this is rarely necessary.

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