Spasticity and Movement Disorders
What are Spasticity and Movement Disorders?
Spasticity is one form of movement disorder (an inability to produce and control bodily movements), that presents as increased tone or stiffness of the muscles. Spastic and other movement disorders are usually the result of problems with the part of the brain that control voluntary movement, of the body, arms and legs.
Other common types of movement disorders include:
- Ataxia: an inability to control or coordinate one's muscles’ actions.
- Chorea: sudden, rapid, jerky movements.
- Dystonia: twisting movements.
- Myoclonus: sudden, involuntary, uncontrollable, very strong twitching movements from muscle spasms, followed by relaxation.
- Tremors: an unintentional and uncontrollable rhythmic movement of one part or limb of the body.
What causes spasticity and movement disorders?
Normal movement is the result of a very complex system which can be affected by many disease processes.
Some spasticity and movement disorders are caused by inherited genetic and/or metabolic abnormalities; others are the result of lack of oxygen to the brain, or strokes, injuries to the brain or spinal cord, infections, or poisonings.
Sometimes the cause is unknown.
What are the symptoms of spasticity and movement disorders?
In addition to the abnormal movements seen, there may be difficulties with walking or speech. Children with spasticity and movement disorders may be of normal or above normal intelligence; however they may suffer from an inability to communicate, and may have learning and/or neurodevelopmental abnormalities.
What are spasticity and movement disorder care options?
There are a variety of treatments options to manage spasticity, including oral medications, Botox injections, Intrathecal baclofen trials as well as pumps, selective dorsal rhizotomy, and deep brain stimulation. Some patients may also need orthopedic surgery to correct bone deformities or lengthen tendons.
Optimal treatment for spasticity and movement disorders require a full range team of pediatric subspecialists including Neurologists, Neurosurgeons, Orthopedic surgeons, and Rehabilitation specialists.
Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf
This page was last updated on: September 21, 2020 02:40 PM
Learn more about
Neuromuscular diseases are a large complex group of different types of disorders (for example muscular dystrophies) which affect the cells in the spinal cord, the nerves, the junction between the nerve and muscle (neuromuscular junction) and/or the muscles, that allow for muscle movement.
Cerebral palsy (CP) is a neurological disorder, often as a consequence of events in the early years of life, which affect the neurological function at various levels. Children may have difficulty in moving in a coordinated manner, learning and behavioral problems or seizures.
A treatment to relieve spasticity, dorsal rhizotomy or selective dorsal rhizotomy is a surgical procedure in which the neurosurgeon divides the dorsal roots (those nerves that transmit sensation from the muscles to the spinal cord) that lie in the spinal canal.
Intrathecal Baclofen Pump
An intrathecal baclofen pump is a treatment for severe muscle spasticity for children who have difficulty taking pills or who need to have more direct treatment for their muscle spasms.