Skip to Content

Disclaimer

Disclaimer
MDS makes every effort to publish accurate information on the website. "Google Translate" is provided as a free tool for visitors to read content in one's native language. Translations are not guaranteed to be 100% accurate. Neither MDS nor its employees assume liability for erroneous translations of website content.

Main Content

Spasticity

2016 Update Contributed by:
Susanne A. Schneider, MD
Consultant Neurologist
LMU University Hospital Muenchen
Munich, Germany

Spasticity is a feature of various neurologic conditions due to the loss of inhibition of motor neurons. It clinically presents with a variable combination of paralysis, increased tendon reflex activity (hyperreflexia with brisk reflexes and a positive Babinski sign) and hypertonia (as opposed to rigidity seen as a characteristic feature of parkinsonism). Clonus (most commonly present in the ankle) may be present and presents as involuntary, rhythmic, muscular contractions and relaxations.

Pathophysiologically, the stretch reflex may play a key role in the imbalance between the excitatory and inhibitory inputs to α motor neurons.

Common causes of spasticity include developmental or acquired lesions of the pyramidal tract in the brain and/or spinal cord in the context of cerebral palsy, stroke, multiple sclerosis, trauma, and others.

Spasticity is a common and significant cause of reduced quality of life and independence. Falls are one of the most important consequences (also see: gait disorders).

Evaluation and management of spasticity should focus first on excluding symptomatic causes. After correction of symptomatic causes, management is typically supportive but may include physical and occupational. Specific agents which may improve include GABA receptor agonists, e.g. baclofen or benzodiazepines, e.g. clonazepam, or ryanodine receptor anatagonists, e.g. dantrolene or botulinum toxin. 

 

Video Click here to view videos depicting spasticity (Members Only)

Video How Do I Examine Rigidity and Spasticity?

 

We use cookies to give you the best possible experience with our website. These cookies are also used to ensure we show you content that is relevant to you. If you continue without changing your settings, you are agreeing to our use of cookies to improve your user experience. You can click the cookie settings link on our website to change your cookie settings at any time. Note: The MDS site uses related multiple domains, including mds.movementdisorders.org and mds.execinc.com. This cookie policy only covers the primary movementdisorders.org and mdscongress.org domain. Please refer to the MDS Privacy Policy for information on how to configure cookies for all other domains on the MDS site.
Cookie PolicyPrivacy Notice