Spasticity

Spasticity, or muscle spasms, is an exaggeration of the normal reflexes that occur when your body is stimulated in certain situations. It can occur any time your body is stimulated below the level of a spinal injury. Spasticity may come in the form of a rigid straightening of your knees and pointing of your toes (extensor spasms) or in a bending of your hip and knees (flexor spasms).

Almost anything can trigger spasticity. An increase in spasticity is one of the ways your body warns you of pain or problems, such as a pressure sore or urinary tract infection (UTI). Spasticity also helps your body maintain muscle mass and bone strength, as well as promote circulation, so it's possible to learn to use spasticity to help you in transferring or performing other tasks.

Care

  • Perform a daily range of motion exercise program.
  • Take precautions to prevent UTIs and skin breakdown.
  • Avoid injuries to your feet and legs.
  • Relax and try to reduce your level of stress.
  • Avoid those things that stimulate or aggravate your spasticity.

If your spasticity begins to interfere with your daily functions, such as driving or sleeping, talk with your doctor. Remember, if you experience significant increases or decreases in spasticity, it may be your body telling you that something is wrong.

Direct any medical questions to a health care professional. Always consult with your physician before modifying any course of treatment.