Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms
Spasticity is a condition in which a muscle, or groups of muscles, are continuously or repeatedly contracted. This continual contraction causes stiffness or tightness of the muscles and can interfere with movements, speech, and walking.
One of the more common symptoms in multiple sclerosis, spasticity can cause a range of problems and difficulties, although in some instances, it can actually improve movement by causing muscle rigidity to work against weakness (paresis) in other muscles.
Symptoms of spasticity may include hypertonicity (increased muscle tone), clonus (a series of rapid muscle contractions), muscle spasms, and involuntary crossing of the legs called scissoring.
The degree of spasticity varies from mild muscle stiffness to severe, painful, and uncontrollable muscle spasms and can show as unusual posturing, for example, carrying the shoulder, arm, wrist, and fingers at an abnormal angle.
Severe, long term, spasticity may lead to contractures of the muscles, which is a chronic, incurable shortening and tightening of the muscle. With contracture also comes the possibility of fixed and immobile joints, often at an unusual angle.
Physical Therapy and exercise help avoid the possibility of the development of contractures resulting form spasticity by keeping the muscles supple.
Medications are available for spasticity, including both hypertonic spasticity and clonus.
The most commonly used are Baclofen and Tizanidine.
Arms and Legs
Head and Neck
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