Spasticity refers to inability of the muscle to relax and can occur due to a brain or spinal cord condition such as stroke, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord compression, and spinocerebellar ataxia.
This can cause a sensation of pain, heaviness, weakness, or tightness and can limit free movement of the arms or legs because of impaired relaxation. Spasticity can also cause a gait abnormality where the legs get stuck together when walking, resulting in slower walking or even falls. Diagnosis typically requires a clinical exam, blood work and imaging of the brain and/or spinal cord. In certain cases a spinal tap (lumbar puncture) is required to assess for inflammation within the central nervous system.
Spasticity of the upper or lower limbs can be treated utilizing muscle relaxant medications such as baclofen, tizandine (Xanaflex) and cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril), but these medications can cause sedation/somnolence. Botulinum toxin injections can safely and effectively relax muscles in the upper or lower limbs without causing sedation or sleepiness. We utilize EMG guidance for optimal targeting of overactive muscles.