Spasticity is a form of muscle overactivity which can result in contractures, abnormal postures, and pain and stiffness in the muscles of the body due to damage to the central nervous system. Spasticity can result from diseases associated with the brain, including:
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Cerebral palsy
- Multiple sclerosis (MS)
- Spinal cord injury
Commonly Used Management Strategies
Spasticity frequently impairs one's mobility, positioning, comfort, care and ability to perform activities of daily living. Successful management of spasticity requires the expertise of a well-integrated team of clinicians. Commonly used management strategies for spasticity include:
- Oral medications, particularly for those with spinal cord injury
- Orthopedic procedures to correct deformities resulting from spasticity or to augment the effects of other treatments
- Bracing and splinting
- Muscle stretching, positioning and movement exercises
New Treatments for Spasticity
Research has proven the value of new treatment options, including:
Medications that are injected directly into the spastic muscle, such as phenol and botulinum toxin (Botox®), are used in conjunction with casting, splinting and orthotic management.
Intrathecal Baclofen Pump
The intrathecal Baclofen pump, a mechanical device, is surgically implanted and delivers medication directly into the brain and spinal cord. This treatment targets the lower limbs and can affect the upper limbs as well. The pump is the first new treatment for spasticity of cerebral origin approved by the FDA since 1981. Patients who could potentially benefit from the pump undergo a trial to assess their response to the therapy. If there is a favorable response during the trial, patients are admitted for surgical implantation of the pump.
Patients or families interested in spasticity management may call 713.797.5942 or toll-free 1.800.44.REHAB (73422).