A number of pathologies can be responsible for spasticity, including cerebral stroke (CAV), head trauma, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, and others. Constantly contracted, the spastic limbs loose flexibility, causing pain and mobility problems for sufferers. Ipsen has a long history of developing treatment for spasticity. Learn the characteristics and causes of the condition, methods of diagnosis and the various treatment options available.
Treatment is not always called for. However, if treatment is indicated, the therapeutic strategy is based on a personalized program of goals:
- to improve motor function (gestural or walking);
- to relieve pain;
- to improve nursing (all aspects of nursing care provided to the patient).
There are several treatment options available:
- Botulinum toxin Type A injection: acts at the neuromuscular junction of the target muscle to inhibit acetylcholine (a neurotransmitter) to release and reduce muscular contractions.
- Drug treatments: generally prescribed when spasticity is pronounced, treatment with oral medication is based on muscle relaxants, such as baclofen, dantrolene and tizanidine. Orally administered cannabis derivatives are effective to some degree, especially in multiple sclerosis patients. This type of treatment needs to be reassessed on a regular basis to check its efficacy, adjust the dosage and check for side effects. Intrathecal baclofen can be used to manage severe spasticity in patients with cerebral palsy or spinal cord injury post-trauma or secondary to multiple sclerosis where patients were unresponsive to oral administration or effective doses produce central nervous system side-effects.
- Surgery: can be an option if the other treatments are ineffective.
- Physiotherapy: is vital, even with oral medication or surgical treatment. Physiotherapy reduces spasticity and teaches patients how best to use their remaining capacity. Stretching exercises improve the range of movement and prevent sometimes painful muscle retraction and contractures.
- Splints and orthoses: these an also be used, and are prescribed by an orthopedic specialist, neurologist or rehabilitation specialist. These rigid devices help to maintain a spastic limb in a fixed position.
Spasticity develops gradually
Rigorous clinical analysis is required to diagnose spasticity
Treatment is not always called for