Spasticity

I haven’t posted anything significant for a week so I thought I’d write about spasticity although I have none.  A cerebellar injury will not cause spasticity.  Most strokes however will cause spasticity.  Spasticity is a velocity dependent tone to the muscle.  So what does that mean?  That means that a muscle, say your bicep, is always contracted and “on.”  So your elbow is always bent.  It attacks some muscles more than others.  The velocity dependent part means it gets worse the faster it is moved.  I remember the very first patient we touched in PT school had spasticity.  She was incredibly open to us touching her arm but we were all scared to do it.  It’s nerve wracking putting your hands on a patient for the first time.  Now I have no physical boundaries with people, I have no problems touching people.  🙂  That sounds weird.  Anyway, spasticity occurs in degrees and can be very painful.  Imagine your elbow constantly bent – that would hurt.  Treatment from a physical therapy standpoint is to keep that muscle as long as possible with very slow stretching and range of motion.  Also, you’d want to strengthen this muscle – and the opposite muscle.  So if the spasticity is affecting your bicep you’d want to get the tricep really strong.  I’m glad I have no spasticity, I think it would be very hard to deal with.  If you have it, it will get better as the brain heals.



Categories: Brain stuff, Rehab, Stroke stuff

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