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What Causes Spasticity in Muscles?

What Causes Spasticity in Muscles?

June 24, 2022
What Causes Spasticity in Muscles?

The causes of spasticity in muscles may be as mild as the feeling of tightness of muscles or may be so severe as to produce pain. Spasticity may also produce feelings of pain or tightness in and around joints and can cause low back pain.

Symptoms of Spasticity in Muscles

  • Muscle stiffness, causing movements to be less precise
  • Involuntary crossing of the legs
  • Stiffness that affects your tasks performances
  • Inhibition of protein synthesis in muscle cells
  • Muscle spasms, causing uncontrollable and often painful muscle contractions
  • Muscle and joint deformities
  • Muscle fatigue
  • Inhibition of longitudinal muscle growth

What Causes Spasticity in Muscles?

Spasticity is generally caused by damage or disruption to the brain and spinal cord, which control muscle contraction and stretch reflexes. Often, these disruptions occur because the inhibitory and excitatory signals sent to the muscles are out of balance, causing them to lock in place. Other typical causes are:

  • Brain damage caused by lack of oxygen
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Head injury
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Neurodegenerative illness
  • Spinal cord injury and stroke

Growing children can be adversely affected by spasticity as it affects their muscles and joints. Spasticity can vary greatly among people with brain injury, spinal cord injury, cerebral palsy, or multiple sclerosis. It is important to seek medical care when spasticity is experienced for the first time with no known cause, the spasticity is worsening and becoming more frequent.

How Painful is Spasticity in Muscles?

In addition to the characteristic pain of spasms, spasticity may cause a feeling of tightness in the muscles, or it may be severe enough to result in painful spasms of the legs or arms. Spasticity also can cause low back pain and result in feelings of pain or tightness in and around joints.

When to Seek Medical Care?

Seek help if spasticity becomes frequent and worst. If you experience pain due to stiff joints and muscles, or if the condition interferes with your daily activities, see a doctor. When untreated, prolonged spasticity can cause frozen joints and pressure sores on the skin, which can be very painful.

Treatment of Spasticity in Muscles

Treatments encompass surgical and non-surgical treatments. Physical therapy is a non-surgical treatment that focuses on large muscle groups to improve range of motion and mobility. You can also try occupational therapy that focuses on small muscle groups to improve strength and coordination allowing for improved performance of daily tasks. Surgery allows for a significant reduction in spasticity and pain with fewer side effects compared to taking baclofen orally.

Tizanidine Hcl for Spasticity in Muscles Treatment

Tizanidine is a short-acting skeletal muscle relaxant. It is used primarily in treating spasticity due to conditions like spinal cord injury and multiple sclerosis. Tizanidine works by temporarily relaxing the muscle and treating spasms by blocking the pain sensations that are sent to the brain.  It also increases the muscle tone associated with muscle spasms.

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