Spasticity

Introduction
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By Yasser Awaad MD and Tamer Rizk MD

In this article, Dr. Awaad of the University of Michigan and Dr. Rizk of the National Neurosciences Institute at King Fahad Medical City explain the definition of spasticity from the clinical, physiological, and neurophysiologic points of view. They present a useful algorithm for examining a child with spasticity. Additionally, they discuss the diagnostic maneuvers used in spasticity, followed by the multidisciplinary interventions for a spastic child, including the mostly updated modalities.

Key Points

  • Spasticity may result from either diffuse or localized pathology of the cerebral cortex, brainstem, or spinal cord. Two thirds of all cerebral palsy patients suffer from spasticity.
  • It is important to evaluate the advantages and disadvantages that the patient gains from their spasticity so that treatment strategies and goals can be identified.
  • Prenatal care during pregnancy can help avoid premature labor and prevent cerebral palsy in infants, along with its resulting spasticity.
  • There is no specific diagnostic test for spasticity.