Spasticity, possibly more commonly known as “muscle spasms”, is a disruption in patterns of muscles vigorously contracting. Typically, muscles follow a complex series of movements which sees some muscles tightening while others relax during normal actions. However; nerve damage in the central nervous system disrupts this pattern and the end result is several muscles involuntarily contracting all at once. The condition is predominantly seen occuring in the legs, however it’s also known to occur in the arms as well. It is a common health condition that is also seen in cerebral palsy, strokes, traumatic brain injury, and multiple sclerosis. Health conditions which typically negatively affect the spinal cord and/or brain are known to show signs of spasticity.
What Causes Spasticity?
Contrasting signals within the central nervous system; that is, between the spinal cord and brain, is the cause of spasticity. This imbalance of signals confuses muscles which is what leads to the disruption of their movement patterns.
Symptoms of Spasticity
- Overactive reflexes
- Increased muscle tone
- Abnormal posture
- Difficulty with hygiene and care
- Involuntary movements such as spasms and clonus
- Bone and joint deformities
- Permanent contractions of tendons and muscles
- Reduced quality of life
How Painful Is Spasticity?
The severity of pain felt from spasticity can be varied with some cases being mild and others being excruciatingly painful. In the cases of the latter, it is usually in the legs which can also lead to problems with a person’s lower back and cause lower back pain.
The process of diagnosing spasticity requires several tests on the patient. On top of that, the doctor will also conduct a thorough check and evaluation of the patient’s medical history as well as their family history. This is done in an attempt to find a trend of neurological disorders that might exist throughout the genetics of the patient’s family or specifically to the patient themself. The tests themselves will be conducted on the limbs of the patient; their arms and legs, with the goal of testing the patient’s mobility with them. It will involve checking their active and passive range of motion, muscular activity, and how capable they are of performing self-care activities.
As there are several types of treatment available, it is imperative to choose options after an evaluation to correctly identify which works best for each individual. This means considering the patient’s age, their underlying cause, as well as the stage of the condition. Some of the treatment options have common goals such as:
- 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 Progressive Pain and Rehabilitation, our health experts value the vital importance of your healthy well-being. We provide the best and latest Regenerative Medicine services with the goal of helping our patients with not only their spasticity, but any pain related problems they may suffer from. Contact us today to schedule your very own evaluation and get started on your own treatment plan at living a better life.