Spasticity - Treatment
Muscle stiffness; Hypertonia
Exercise, including muscle stretching, can help make your symptoms less severe. Home-based physical therapy is also helpful.
Call your health care provider if:
Contact your health care provider if:
- The spasticity gets worse
- You notice deformity of the affected areas
What to expect at your health care provider's office:
Your doctor will perform a physical exam and ask questions about your symptoms, including:
- When was it first noticed?
- How long has it lasted?
- Is it always present?
- How severe is it?
- What muscles are affected?
- What makes it better?
- What makes it worse?
- What other symptoms are present?
Your doctor may refer you to a physical therapist. Physical therapy involves different exercises, including muscle stretching and strengthening exercises. Physical therapy exercises can be taught to parents who may then help their child do them at home.
Medicines for spasticity include baclofen, benzodiazepines (such as diazepam), clonidine, dantrolene, gabapentin, and tizanidine. Botulinum toxin can be injected into the spastic muscles. In rare cases, a pump may be inserted into the spinal fluid to directly deliver medicine to the nervous system.
Sometimes, a person may need surgery to release the tendon or to cut the nerve-muscle pathway.
- Reviewed last on: 2/5/2011
- David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by Joseph V. Campellone, MD, Division of Neurology, Cooper University Hospital, Camden, NJ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
Dobkin BH. Principles and practices of neurological rehabilitation. In: Bradley WG, Daroff RB, Fenichel GM, Jankovic J, eds. Bradley: Neurology in Clinical Practice. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Butterworth-Heinemann Elsevier; 2008:chap 52.
Griggs R, Jozefowicz R, Aminoff M. Approach to the patient with neurologic disease. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 418.
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