Spasticity is a disorder that causes an increase in muscle tone, resulting in painful stiffness. It can be caused by an injury or damage to nerves, or may accompany another disease or condition.

What is Spasticity?

Spasticity is a condition in which the muscles in the body become abnormally rigid or stiff, limiting movement or functionality and sometimes causing pain. It’s a result of nerve damage in the pathways through the brain and spinal cord in areas that control muscle functioning. Spasticity is associated with other disease such as multiple sclerosis and cerebral palsy, or with a traumatic brain or spine injury.

Diagnosing Spasticity

A physical examination and review of symptoms may be conducted to arrive at a diagnosis of spasticity. A physician may ask about medications the patient is taking and ask about one’s family history to determine if there were past cases of neurological or muscular disorders. Tests to evaluate muscle function or range of motion may also be ordered.

Treatment for Spasticity

Medications such as baclofen, diazepam, or clonazepam can be effective in treating spasticity. Some types of physical therapy may be ordered to prevent further stiffness, and in some cases, botulinum toxin (Botox) injections can be helpful.

The providers at the Clinical Neuroscience Institute’s Movement Disorders Center are dedicated to finding the treatment option that fits your individual needs so you can enjoy the day-to-day activities that matter to you.