Spasticity is the inability to control some muscular movements resulting in an involuntary tightening or clenching of muscles in affected joints. Spasticity is usually the result of trauma to the cerebellum – the part of the brain that controls voluntary muscular movement. It is often present in people with cerebral palsy and in those suffering from progressive central nervous system disorders such as muscular sclerosis, Huntingdon’s disease, and others.

The exact mechanisms of spasticity are still being debated but it is generally accepted that the condition involves an imbalance between the excitatory and inhibitory signals that pass between the muscles and the central nervous system. The result is overexcitement in the muscles which gives rise to the characteristic body and limb rigidity that is typical of spasticity. Spasticity can be mild but it can also be both painful and debilitating. Some of the most common symptoms are:

  • Tight muscles
  • Stiff joints
  • Uncontrollable jerking movements and muscle spasms
  • Exaggerated reflexes
  • Unusual body posture including abnormal positions of the wrists, fingers, arms and shoulders
  • “Scissor”-like walking movements with the knees crossing
  • Speech difficulties
  • Limited range of muscle contraction and extension affecting range of movement
  • Muscle and joint pain, particularly in the back
  • Difficulties with moving

If the spasticity spasms become too frequent, this can affect the sufferer’s ability to perform everyday tasks. Spasticity episodes that go on for too long without treatment can result in an inability to walk, move, or function as normal and even frozen joints and the eruption of pressure sores on the skin.


Exercise is known to be of great benefit to spasticity sufferers and there are a range of orthotic devices available that can help to control or limit spastic movement in affected muscles. The Revivo Intensive Suit and customized range of progressively more difficult targeted muscle exercises can be of great help in improving patient flexibility and controlled muscular movement range. Regular stretching is another proven method that can profoundly help spasticity sufferers with their functional motor skills and massage is another useful practice to limit discomfort and maximize quality of life.

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