Spasticity is characterised by an increase in tone in a muscle group, so that there is stiffness and resistance as the muscle is moved. In MS, it can impair mobility, produce pain, and significantly impact daily living. Spasticity can increase intermittently (cramping) or increase chronically.

Complications from spasticity include pain, joint contractures, frozen joints, impaired bladder or bowel function, skin ulceration, and abnormal postures and falls. In this section we talk about how to best deal with spasticity, a painful symptom that can impact almost every activity of daily living.

How is spasticity assessed & treated?

Spasticity is measured by the degree of passive resistance to the stretch of muscles around joints, using the Ashworth or modified Ashworth scales. Usually carried out by a Chartered Physiotherapist. Treatment of spasticity involves both medications and physical approaches. Over-treating spasticity can impede mobility.

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