Spasticity has been described as "a motor disorder, characterized by a velocity-dependent increase in tonic stretch reflexes (muscle tone) with exaggerated tendon jerks, resulting from hyper-excitability of the stretch reflex as one component of the upper motor neuron syndrome". In patients with complete spinal cord lesions, severe untreatable spasticity can make movement, sitting and hygiene difficult or impossible while it may alter gait and personal care in patients with partial lesions. From a clinical point of view, it is useful to distinguish spinal cord spasticity from supraspinal spasticity. Traditionally, the Ashworth scale is the most widely used to quantify the tone of single muscles. In order to quantify hypereflexia, the Reflex Scale is also used. In the spinal spasticity which is characterized by spasms, the Spasm Frequency Scale is useful in order to monitor their frequency. Initially, management of spasticity is based on non-invasive treatments that later become more invasive. The first approach, the conservative treatment, usually includes elimination of the nociceptive stimuli, rehabilitative therapy (physical and occupational), orthopaedic prostheses and plaster corsets. These treatments, do not resolve spasticity in about 33% of cases. In these severe cases, more invasive procedures such as muscle infiltrations with botulin toxin and intrathecal baclofen infusion can be used.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology