What Is Spasticity?
Spasticity is a condition in which there is an abnormal increase in muscle tone or stiffness of muscle that can affect bodily functions and daily activities. The degree of spasticity varies from mild muscle stiffness to severe, painful, and uncontrollable muscle spasms. Common signs and symptoms of spasticity include:
- Discomfort or pain
- Exaggerated deep tendon reflexes
- Muscle spasms
- Involuntary movement of legs
- Fixed joints
What Are The 8 Causes Of Spasticity?
Spasticity can be caused by the following:
1. Spasticity can be caused by damage to nerve pathways within your nervous system that controls muscle movement.
2. Spinal cord injury (SCI): SCI is damage to the spinal cord that causes temporary or permanent changes in its function. This injury can result in muscle overactivity.
- Multiple sclerosis (MS): MS occurs when the myelin sheath which is the covering of the brain and spinal cord gets damaged. This damage disrupts the ability of the spine and brain to communicate, resulting in a wide range of signs and symptoms including abnormal sensation, muscle weakness, and mental and sometimes psychiatric problems.
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS): ALS, is a progressive nervous system disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, causing loss of muscle control. ALS is often called Lou Gehrig’s disease, after the baseball player who was diagnosed with it. Doctors are uncertain of the causes of ALS, but many times it is inherited. ALS often begins with muscle twitching and weakness in a limb or slurred speech. There is no cure for this fatal disease.
4. Cerebral palsy: Cerebral palsy is a group of disorders that affect bodily movements and coordination. It’s caused by damage that occurs to the immature, developing brain, most often before birth.
5. Stroke: A stroke happens when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off, killing brain cells. This damage to the brain can affect the nervous system’s nerve pathway and can lead to muscle overgrowth.
6. Brain or head trauma: A head injury includes a wide range of injuries that can happen to the scalp, skull, brain, and underlying tissue and blood vessels in the head. Head injuries are also commonly referred to as brain injury, or traumatic brain injury (TBI), depending on the level of the head trauma. This includes concussions, skull fractures, and Intracranial hematoma (ICH). These injuries can affect the signals your brain and spine send to your muscles.
7. Hereditary spastic paraplegia (HSP): HSP refers to a group of inherited disorders that are characterized by progressive weakness and stiffness of the legs.
8. Metabolic diseases: Metabolism is the process your body uses to make energy from what you consume. Metabolic syndrome is a combination of conditions that increase your risk of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. These conditions include increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels. Having just one of these conditions does not mean you have metabolic syndrome but rather that you are at greater risk of serious disease.
What Are The Treatments For Spasticity?
Treatment for spasticity usually involves a variety of the following options:
- Exercises. Stretching, positioning, and exercise activities may help maintain a wider mobility range and prevent the shortening or tightening of the muscles.
- Oral medications. There are prescription medications available for this condition.
- Botox Injections. Botulinum toxin (Botox) injections into affected muscles may decrease the muscle signals that cause spasticity. The injections provide temporary relief, allowing you to move and strengthen your muscles.
Dr. Kashouty from Premier Neurology in Stuart, FL, is a leading expert on the treatment of spasticity. He believes in using all possible tools in managing symptoms. The goal is to find the right personalized treatment for each person to improve their quality of life. To make an appointment with Premier Neurology, call 772-210-2447 or request an online appointment.