Spasticity/Flaccidity

Barb e-mailed me a question recently that stumped me.  She said that her spastic arm went limp one day.  Now in all of my medical training, I learned that it is always going to be flaccidity followed by spasticity.  But as we all know, medical training can be so very wrong.  So I’d like to know if this kind of thing has happened to anyone else.  ???

gc useless gc no gc gaallery



Categories: Brain stuff, Health, Recovery, Stroke stuff

Tags: , ,

12 replies

  1. Amy, thanks for posting this. Clarification: spasticity and flaccidity come and go. Usually spastic, my arm sometimes goes limp, shoulder on down. When flaccid, I can contract my biceps, and my finger flexors are still spastic, as usual.

  2. Never had any flaccid muscle that at one time was spastic. My therapists always used the term ‘tone’ probably because it sounds better than spastic

    • ‘Tone’ would be kind of a different description of what’s happening, but PTs have no medical training or background so it’s fitting that they would have used the wrong word.

  3. Yep, I’ve had some times of flaccid muscles after spasticity. Although the flaccid moments are very short lived. It’s like the whole arm is totally exhausted. Measured in moments before the spasticity kicks in again.But unlike Barb, it is useless. I can’t contract anything.

    Speaking of medical backgrounds, I beg to differ. You’ve had more training on how things should move and it’s mechanism of movement than most doctors besides orthos. I have extensive medical background, but am still learning new stuff every session with my terrorist. Just like you learned and are learning new stuff as you are exposed to yoga. It’s the sum of experience that creates new pictures.

  4. I never experienced complete loss of control over my affected left side after my stroke. I had partial loss of control and some weakness, but both came back rapidly. After six months of inpatient and outpatient therapy, and exercise at home, my left side was almost as strong and coordinated as my right. Unfortunately, spasticity set in at that time and has continued to get worse. However, it only kicks in when I move my left side. At night, or if I stay still and relax in my easy chair or on the couch, the spasticity relaxes, too. As soon as I stand up, or reach for something, though, it wakes up and springs into action to stop me from moving. If I stay active continuously, like yesterday when I worked much of the day sanding and repainting the porch, by the end of the day I can barely move my left side. Or like now as I’m typing this long passage, my left hand, arm and shoulder muscles are gradually turning to stone, but from experience I know the muscles will relax when I finish if I sit back and let my arm go limp. it’s all very strange, but if it doesn’t get worse, it’s something I can live with.

  5. Well he is obviously a complete idiot and probably suffers terribly from the God complex” that way too many doctors are afflicted with. In my opinion nurses and therapists are far more proficient in what it takes to actually “care for patients”. He, the doctor, might have more formal classroom education and maybe taken more tests…but that equates to very little “real life” ability to help and heal real people. I’ll be praying for him and the people subjected to his haphazard care. If he could ever recover from his God complex he would make a much better doctor.

  6. My left hand and arm were very spastic from right after the stroke until just recently when the spasticity receded. My hand is now relaxed but I have no movement yet. Anytime my bicep is engaged or stimulated. I get a bout of clonus which goes away with just a touch of my right hand on my arm.Are you a believer of Brunnstrom stages? My stroke recovery has progressed accordingly with about 4-6 months between stages.

    • Yes I do. They’re obviously not going to be the case in all people, like me for instance, I never had any spasticity but in a lot of cases they seem to be pretty accurate.

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