Integrated Neurology Services
Neurology & Sleep Specialists Located in Northern Virginia, Alexandria, VA, Old Alexandria, VA, Lorton, VA, & Falls Church, VA
Spasticity is an abnormal, continuous contraction of muscles following a neurologic injury that affects 12 million people around the world. The board-certified neurologists at Integrated Neurology Services take an integrated and individualized approach to care and offer many treatment options to alleviate spasticity symptoms. To schedule an evaluation, contact the clinic most convenient to you in Northern Virginia, including locations in Alexandria, Falls Church, and Lorton, also serving the Vienna, VA, community, by phone or online today.
Spasticity Q & A
What is spasticity?
Spasticity causes the ongoing contraction of a muscle, creating stiffness or tightness that may affect movement, gait, or speech. In addition to the muscle, the contraction also affects the health and function of the joints in the extremities and is especially harmful to growing children.
What causes spasticity?
Spasticity is generally caused by damage to the areas of the brain or spinal cord that control movement, which alters communication between the nervous system and muscles and increases muscle activity.
Many neurological conditions can cause spasticity, including:
- Cerebral palsy
- Spinal cord injury
- Multiple sclerosis
- Nervous system tumors
- Traumatic brain injury
About 80% of those diagnosed with cerebral palsy or multiple sclerosis have some degree of spasticity.
What are spasticity symptoms?
Spasticity symptoms vary in type and severity. In some cases, spasticity only causes a slight muscle tightness, while in others the muscle tightness is so severe it causes uncontrollable pain and muscle spasms.
In addition to the muscle contraction, spasticity may also cause:
- Limited mobility
- Muscle and joint deformities
- Muscle fatigue
- Involuntary leg crossing
- Increased risk of urinary tract infections
- Chronic constipation
- Pressure ulcers
- Painful muscle spasms
Spasticity may also hinder muscle tissue growth and production of muscle cell protein.
How is spasticity treated?
The board-certified neurologists at Integrated Neurology Services take an integrated approach to care and provide all the treatments and therapies you need to manage your spasticity symptoms as well as the underlying cause.
Your spasticity treatment plan is individualized to address your unique health needs, and may include:
The team may prescribe oral medications if your spasticity symptoms interfere with your activities of daily living. The medications offered include baclofen and benzodiazepines.
Botox injections paralyze the spastic muscle. The injection works by blocking the release of acetylcholine so the muscle can relax. It may take a few days for Botox injections to take effect, but they may last 12-16 weeks.
In cases of severe spasticity, the neurology team at Integrated Neurology Services may recommend intrathecal baclofen, which is an implanted device that delivers the medication directly into the spinal fluid.
In addition to providing medical treatments, the team may also refer you to occupational and physical therapy to develop a program that helps reduce muscle contractions, improves mobility, and reduces pain.
For comprehensive treatment for your spasticity, call Integrated Neurology Services or use the online tool to schedule a consultation.
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