Muscle Tightness or Spasticity
If you have muscle tightness or spasticity due to a chronic condition, such as cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury, brain injury, Parkinson’s disease or stroke, Good Shepherd’s spasticity services may be able to help.
Levels of care:
The first step in managing you spasticity at Good Shepherd is to undergo a thorough physical examination. This evaluation will help Good Shepherd’s care team assess the degree and severity of spasticity and how it affects your function, range of motion, reflexes, motor control and cognitive abilities.
Evaluations are performed by an interdisciplinary team of rehabilitation specialists, which may include a physician specializing in physical medicine and rehabilitation and nurses, as well as physical, occupational and speech therapists.
After an initial assessment, the team will develop a treatment plan for you based on realistic goals.
When a small amount of spasticity is detected, muscle stretching through physical and occupational therapy may be all that is needed. Casts, braces, splints and other adaptive devices may also be used.
Moderate to severe spasticity may be treatable with oral medication or with two alternate treatment options:
- Botox: Good Shepherd uses Botox injections for those suffering from localized spasticity. Botox injections block the transmission of electrical signals from nerves to muscles that they control. Botox may reduce the tightness of the affected muscles for up to three months. After the effect of the medication wears off, the injection can be repeated.
- Baclofen pump: If you are suitable for this procedure, a pump will be surgically implanted into your abdomen to deliver baclofen medication into the fluids surrounding your spinal cord. This medication, along with a program of physical and occupational therapy, may help relieve severe spasticity.
Treatment plans for spasticity may include referrals to orthopedic surgeons for muscle releases or transfers, placement of intrathecal baclofen pumps by neurosurgeons. Good Shepherd will provide follow-up care, assess your progress and monitor medications and the effectiveness of baclofen pumps.