are many different variations on the definition of spasticity
that a physician will use. The common one is “a velocity-dependent increase in resistance of a muscle to stretch” meaning
the faster you try to move a limb or joint the greater the spasticity
Obvious severe spasticity is tight, stiff muscles involved in
movement, especially of the arms and legs, making those movements
difficult, uncoordinated or uncomfortable. However, spasticity
can also affect other functions such as speech and swallowing.
Spasticity can also be extremely painful and can interfere with
function and the patient's comfort. Spasticity can affect all
aspects of daily living such as walking, dressing, sleeping,
communication, feeding and personal hygiene, making these activities
both time-consuming and difficult for both the patients and their
caregivers. Uncontrolled, poorly managed spasticity is also recognised
for the increased potential of causing additional medical problems
such as pressure sores, joint stiffness and muscle contractures
requiring additional surgical and medical interventions. Contractures
are of particular concern that orthopaedic surgery may resolve
but they often redevelop if the underlying spasticity is not
Spasticity is also associated with decreased coordination, dexterity,
planning of movements, muscle weakness and muscular endurance.
It can vary according to the patient's state of alertness, activity
Spasticity can be aggravated by many factors such as pain, stress,
emotional state, tiredness, extremes of temperature, illness,
constipation and diarrhoea, tight clothing and orthoses such
as splints, immobility and hormonal changes such as the menstrual
THERAPY: Age 41
HISTORY: Multiple sclerosis diagnosed in 1980. DeChantal experienced severe spasticity, spasms, and lack of balance as a result of the MS.
OUTCOME AFTER RECEIVING ITB THERAPY: Spasticity and its related pain significantly reduced; returned to professional modeling and singing, special events planning, community volunteer work, and caring for her grandchild.
COMMENT: “I am very, very pleased with the results. I was scared about the surgery at first, but I have not regretted getting this pump, not for one moment.”