Spasticity

Spasticity

Background

Spasticity is abnormally increased muscle tone. It is the result of a neurologic injury or disease such as from a stroke or spinal cord injury. Spasticity is usually felt as muscle tightness. It is velocity dependent, which means that as you move or range a limb the tightness will be felt and often increase in severity. If left untreated, spasticity can result in complications such as pain, contracture (the limb is stuck in an abnormal fixed position), skin problems, and loss of function.

Diagnosis

There are no specific tests required to diagnose spasticity except for a physical exam. However, x-ray is often ordered to rule out other potential causes of decreased range of motion in a limb.

Treatment

Spasticity can be treated in various ways. The first line of treatment is with oral muscle relaxers. If these do not work or are not well tolerated due to side effects, then Botox can be used to relax the tight muscles. In rare occasions, a special device called a Baclofen pump can be surgically installed directly into the the fluid around the spinal cord to help relax the muscles.

Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to see the first patient in my private practice who was sent from the VA. This veteran has been suffering with pain in both shoulders for over a year now. He has failed conservative treatment already with physical therapy, pain medications, and steroid injections. As a result, he was referred to me for Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) injections to help him heal his injured rotator cuffs and arthritic joints. I look forward to taking care of him and other veterans like him in the future who have served our great country over the years. ... See MoreSee Less

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