Spasticity

Spasticity is a feature of altered skeletal muscle performance with a combination of paralysis, increased tendon reflex activity and hypertonia. It is also colloquially referred to as an unusual "tightness", stiffness, or "pull" of muscles.

Clinically, spasticity results from the loss of inhibition of motor neurons, causing excessive muscle contraction. This ultimately leads to an hyperreflexia, an exaggerated deep tendon reflex.

Research has clearly shown that individualised exercise is beneficial for reducing spasticity in muscles.

Assessment of a movement disorder featuring spasticity may involve several health professionals depending on the affected individual's situation, and the severity of their condition. Neurophysiotherapy can assist in the management of altered tone and reduce the neural and muscle tightness created by the tone. Other professionals including Orthotosists can assist with dynamic or stable splinting, and specialty areas such as Speech and Occupational Therapy can optimize speech, swallowing and activities of daily living.

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