Spasticity is a condition in which muscles stiffen or tighten, preventing normal fluid movement. The muscles remain contracted and resist being stretched, thus affecting movement, speech and gait.
Symptoms of spasticity can vary from being mild stiffness or tightening of muscles to painful and uncontrollable spasms. Pain or tightness in joints is also common in spasticity.
- Muscle stiffness, causing movements to be less precise and making certain tasks difficult to perform
- Muscle spasms, causing uncontrollable and often painful muscle contractions
- Involuntary crossing of the legs
- Muscle and joint deformities
- Muscle fatigue
- Inhibition of longitudinal muscle growth
- Inhibition of protein synthesis in muscle cells
Our medical team includes leading consultants, nurses, therapists and carers who all specialise in neurological conditions. Our rehabilitation programmes are medically-led - your care and rehabilitation is overseen by one of our specialist rehabilitation consultants and physicians.
In our spasticity management clinic, we will perform a multi-disciplinary team assessment for you. This involves our rehabilitation consultant, physiotherapist, occupational therapist and orthotist who can offer advice on the following treatments:
- Oral Medications: oral medications are used in combination with other therapies or medications, such as physical or occupational therapy. Oral medications are only used if symptoms interfere with daily functioning or sleep. Common medications include:
- Botulinum Toxin (Botox) Injections: Botox injections can be used to paralyze the spastic muscle preventing it from contracting. In small amounts, Botox is injected into carefully selected sites determined based on the pattern of spasticity. Botox injections can last up to 12-16 weeks, but, due to the plasticity of the nervous system, new nerve endings will form and the muscle will no longer be inhibited by the Botox. Additionally, while Botox can be very helpful, there is a limited number of injections that can be administered.
- Physical therapy: stretching and strengthening exercises focusing on large muscle groups to improve range of motion and mobility
- Occupational therapy: exercises that focus on small muscle groups to improve strength and coordination allowing for improved performance of daily tasks. Speech therapy can also be done by patients whose spasticity has affected their speech.
- Casting or bracing: prevents involuntary spasms and reduces tightening of the muscles.