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NINDS Disorders is an index of neurological conditions provided by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. This valuable tool offers detailed descriptions, facts on treatment and prognosis, and patient organization contact information for over 500 identified neurological disorders.

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Spasticity

Spasticity is a condition in which there is an abnormal increase in muscle tone or stiffness of muscle, which might  interfere with movement, speech, or be associated with discomfort or pain.  Spasticity is usually caused by damage to nerve pathways within the brain or spinal cord that control muscle movement. It may occur in association with spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, stroke, brain or head trauma, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, hereditary spastic paraplegias, and metabolic diseases such as adrenoleukodystrophy, phenylketonuria, and Krabbe disease. Symptoms may include hypertonicity (increased muscle tone), clonus (a series of rapid muscle contractions), exaggerated deep tendon reflexes, muscle spasms, scissoring (involuntary crossing of the legs), and fixed joints (contractures). The degree of spasticity varies from mild muscle stiffness to severe, painful, and uncontrollable muscle spasms. Spasticity can interfere with rehabilitation in patients with certain disorders, and often interferes with daily activities.

Treatment

Treatment may include such medications as baclofen, diazepam, tizanidine or clonazepam. Physical therapy regimens may include muscle stretching and range of motion exercises to help prevent shrinkage or shortening of muscles and to reduce the severity of symptoms. Targeted injection of botulinum toxin into muscles with the most tome can help to selectively weaken these muscles to improve range of motion and function.  Surgery may be recommended for tendon release or to sever the nerve-muscle pathway.

Prognosis

The prognosis for those with spasticity depends on the severity of the spasticity and the associated disorder(s).

Research

The NINDS supports research on brain and spinal cord disorders that can cause spasticity. The goals of this research are to increase scientific understanding about these disorders and to find ways to prevent, treat, and cure them.

View a list of studies currently seeking patients.

View more studies on this condition.

Organizations

National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD)

Federation of voluntary health organizations dedicated to helping people with rare "orphan" diseases and assisting the organizations that serve them. Committed to the identification, treatment, and cure of rare disorders through programs of education, advocacy, research, and service.

55 Kenosia Avenue
Danbury, CT 06810
Tel: 203-744-0100 Voice Mail 800-999-NORD (6673)
Fax: 203-798-2291

March of Dimes

Works to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects and infant mortality through programs of research, community services, education, and advocacy.

1275 Mamaroneck Avenue
White Plains, NY 10605
Tel: 914-997-4488 888-MODIMES (663-4637)
Fax: 914-428-8203

National Multiple Sclerosis Society

Funds research, helps families stay together, provides accurate and up-to-date information, helps with employment issues, offers free counseling, runs self-help groups, advocates for people with disabilities, and provides referrals to medical professionals.

733 Third Avenue
3rd Floor
New York, NY 10017-3288
Tel: 800-344-4867 (800-FIGHT-MS)
Fax: 212-986-7981

United Cerebral Palsy (UCP)

Educates, advocates and provides support services to ensure a life without limits for people with a spectrum of disabilities.

1825 K St NW
Suite 600
Washington, DC 20006
Tel: 202-776-0406 800-USA-5UCP (872-5827)
Fax: 202-776-0414

Easter Seals

Provides services to help children and adults with disabilities and/or special needs as well as support to their families. Supports the National AgrAbility Project, a program for farmers, ranchers, and farm workers with disabilities.

233 South Wacker Drive
Suite 2400
Chicago, IL 60606
Tel: 312-726-6200 800-221-6827
Fax: 312-726-1494

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