What is Spasticity?

Spasticity is a condition in which muscles overreact to stretching and are unable to relax. Affected muscles become stiff, making it difficult to walk, move, or speak.

Many conditions can result in spasticity, such as the following:

  • Brain injury
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Lennox-Gastaut syndrome
  • Infection
  • Rett syndrome
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Stroke            

Spasticity is caused by damage to the nerve pathways that send messages from the brain to the spinal cord telling muscles to relax. Because the signals from the brain are blocked or are misfiring, they can’t get messages to the arms, legs, or other parts of the body, so the muscles do not relax.

  • Feedback from the brain telling the arms or legs to relax is blocked, so the muscles stay tight (also known as contracted).
  • Muscles in a constant state of exertion use a lot of energy. Therefore, side effects of spasticity may be muscle weakness and weight loss.

Though there is no cure for spasticity, many options are available to help manage its symptoms and improve your child’s quality of life.

Experts at our comprehensive Spasticity Program combine their specialized perspectives to come up with a life plan that is tailored to your child’s specific needs.