Spasticity is an involuntary muscle contraction that is stronger and longer than normal muscle contraction. It is seen in cerebral palsy, spinal cord injury, stroke, multiple sclerosis, traumatic brain injury.

What are the effects of spasticity?

Excessive and involuntary contraction of the muscles may cause contractures, joint limitations and difficulties in performing the daily activities. Sometimes it causes difficulty in exercising and walking, and maintaining hygiene. Excessive contractions may sometimes cause difficulty in falling asleep.

Apart from the negative effects of spasticity, there are also positive effects. For example, it prevents weakening of the muscles and may be helpful for standing in some patients.

Spasticity treatment

Patients examined meticulously by clinicians, and a treatment is planned considering the positive and negative effects of spasticity. First, muscle relaxant drugs are given and physical therapy modalities and stretching exercises are applied. In case of local spasticity, botulinum toxin injection is recommended.

Botulinum toxin injection

Botulinum toxin is a protein produced by bacteria under laboratory conditions. It inhibits muscle spasms and contractions by blocking nerve signals of muscle and causes temporary relaxation in the muscle fibers. Botulinum toxin is administered into spastic muscles under EMG or ultrasonography guidance. Its effect begins within a few days after injection and last three or four months. The injection can be repeated at the end of this period if needed. It has rarely moderate or mild side effects such as headache, skin rush, nausea, dizziness, exhaustion, weakness, flu-like symptoms, joint pain etc. These symptoms regress spontaneously within a week. Rehabilitation programs should be continued after botulinum injection.