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.

The first step in managing your spasticity at Good Shepherd is to undergo a thorough physical examination. Good Shepherd utilizes a team approach to evaluate and treat spasticity, which includes the expertise of physical medicine and rehabilitation physicians who work in concert with physical and occupational therapists. The team will assess:

  • Posture
  • Muscle strength
  • Movement control
  • Coordination
  • Endurance
  • Muscle response to stretch

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. The team will then develop an individualized treatment plan.

Treatment and interventions may include:

  • Non-invasive options, such as icing, bracing, splinting, casting and other adaptive devices
  • An exercise program designed by a therapist or an accredited exercise physiologist (AEP)
  • Oral or injectable medications used to address pain, functional deficits or to reduce the signals between nerves and muscles
  • Rehabilitation technology, which can provide passive or assisted movement
  • Surgery (in severe cases)

Three alternate treatment options for moderate to severe spasticity include:

  • 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.
  • Medical Cannabis: Numerous research studies have demonstrated the proper use medical cannabis as an effective agent to relieve pain and reduce spasticity associated with certain diseases and conditions. Following a thorough evaluation, Good Shepherd physiatrists will certify appropriate patients for medical cannabis use as part of a comprehensive treatment plan that requires follow up care. For additional information, please click here.

For more information on the Good Shepherd Spasticity Management Program, contact us, call 610-776-3278 or Request an Appointment.