What is spasticity? Spasticity means muscle stiffness or spasms. The stiffness may be as minimal as muscle tightness and may not be bothersome at times, or stiffness may be so severe as to produce painful, uncontrollable spasms. Sudden movements or position changes can bring on spasticity, as can muscle tightness, change in temperature, humidity, infections, or even tight clothing. Spasticity is common in the knee and ankle areas. However, hips, shoulders, and elbows may also be affected.
Left untreated, spasticity can lead to complications like “frozen” joints (called contractures) and pressure sores. These can also act as spasticity triggers. This means they can set off even more symptoms. It’s important to let your doctor know if you’re going through this or any other symptom of multiple sclerosis (MS).
Dealing with spasticity related to MS
Spasticity varies from person to person. It should be treated on an individual basis. Your healthcare provider can recommend ways to relieve your MS symptoms. He or she can also track your progress and may make referrals for occupational and physical therapists. Exercise, daily stretching, and changes in activity are all ways to help relieve spasticity. Medication may also be an option for you.