What is Spasticity?

Spasticity is a common neurological disorder that causes muscles to become stiff, tight, or twitch uncontrollably. It can affect any part of the body, but it is most common in the arms and legs. It is usually caused by damage to the brain or spinal cord that controls voluntary movement.

Without treatment, the condition can lead to a variety of problems, such as loss of active or passive movements, fatigue, pain, sleep disturbances, and difficulty with bladder control. These issues make it hard to perform everyday tasks, resulting in disability and increased healthcare expenses.

At Melbourne NeuroCare, you will have experienced neurologists in botulinum toxin for spasticity management. It is safe and well-tolerated by most patients.

The Cause of Spasticity?

Some of the common causes include:

  • Strokes
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Hereditary
  • Dystonia

Spasticity can present variably in a clinical setting, sometimes with a subtle neurological sign or sometimes with severe disability. Some possible symptoms of spasticity are:

  • Muscle tightness or stiffness
  • Joint stiffness or reduced range of motion
  • Involuntary muscle contractions or spasms
  • Unusual posture or limb position
  • Weakness
  • Pain or discomfort
  • Impaired balance and coordination

Spasticity can affect your quality of life by limiting your mobility, independence, and daily activities. It can also increase your risk of developing other complications, such as:

  • Pressure sores
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Constipation
  • Fever
  • Contractures (permanent shortening of muscles or tendons)
  • Bone fractures
  • Speech and swallowing difficulties

Normally, a nerve communicates with a muscle by releasing a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine. This chemical messenger is typically released when a nerve is activated, allowing it to bind to the muscle and trigger a series of events that lead to muscle contraction. When a muscle contracts, it is activated, causing movement.

However, when a muscle is repeatedly stimulated due to damage from a neurological disease, it may remain contracted even when it should be relaxed. This results in spasticity, which can cause pain, stiffness, and difficulty with movement.

To manage this problem, botulinum toxin is used to block the release of acetylcholine, preventing muscle contraction. This effectively induces muscle relaxation and allows the muscle to move.

Your movement disorder neurologist will recommend botulinum toxin together with other treatments such as medications, physiotherapy, or surgery if needed. You are a good candidate for treatment if you suffer from severe, bothersome spasticity with minimal or no response to medications.

The Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) subsidizes botulinum toxin for spasticity in most patients.

What to Expect After Treatment?

Results

Most patients start to see results within five days, with maximum results between three to four weeks after the injections.

In research studies, they have been found to reduce pain, spasticity, and deformity. This treatment has also been shown to improve overall function, movement, and self-care abilities. For instance, botulinum toxin injections can significantly improve upper limb function in stroke patients with spasticity, allowing for greater independence in daily activities, such as dressing, grooming, and eating.

Some factors that may affect the effectiveness of botulinum toxin include dose, muscle selection, injection technique, and patient compliance with rehabilitation.

Botulinum Toxin for Spasticity at Melbourne NeuroCare

Whether you have a recent diagnosis or have been managing spasticity for years, our team is here to help you achieve your best quality of life. Botulinum toxin injection is a safe and effective way to reduce muscle tightness by blocking the nerve signals that cause spasticity. Contact us today to book an appointment and learn more about how botulinum toxin injection can benefit you.

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    SPECIALISED THERAPIES: 

    MOVEMENT DISORDERS:

    BOTULINUM TOXIN

    Botulinum toxin is used for: 

    GENERAL NEUROLOGY   

    • Migraine and headache disorders
    • Seizure disorders             
    • Stroke
    • Falls
    • Multiple sclerosis             
    • Neuromuscular disease
    • Neurodegenerative disease