SPASTICITY AND TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY
Wakehealth.edu says. “An estimated 1 million Americans suffer from upper limb spasticity. The condition most commonly occurs after a stroke, but also occurs after spinal cord or traumatic brain injury or in adults with multiple sclerosis (MS) or cerebral palsy.” Spasticity is a condition that is not limited stroke, cerebral palsey, or spinal cord injury, TBI survivors are also effected by spasticity. With that being said, TBI warriors suffer from spasticity in their achilles tendons, their hands, shoulers, wrists, virtually any part of the body is vulnerable to spasticity. With that being said there are medications, casting and surgical procedures, exercises, and precautions that could be made to both prevent and alleviate spasticity symptoms.
There are many medications to help improve spasticity and most, if not all, are muscle relaxers. Dantrolene, Botox, and baclofen are all examples of medical treatments for curbing spasticity side-effects. Doctors and therapists often go for the most minimally invasive treatment first and increase aggressiveness from there. For example, if an individual needs foot correction the medical professionals would most likely prescribe an oral medication first and save surgury for last.
If a TBI survivor is struggling with spasticity in the foot, for example, medical professionals will most likely try serial casting/ bracing. Keep in mind, the foot is being used as an example however, the hand, wrist, fingers, and other body parts can be braced or casted.
WHAT IS SPASTICITY?
A situation whereby there is damage to either the brain or the spinal cord that controls the voluntary movement and will eventually materialized to Spasticity i.e. stretching after TBI. This will eventually bring about a change in the nervous system cum the muscle part. It is a disease that affects people who have suffered from the hand of stroke. Chronic constipations, urinary tract infections, contracture, overactive reflexes, and pressure sores are few out of much likely disease that an untreated spasticity could cause which are very perilous illnesses.
Muscle weakness is the additional symptom that comes with spasticity. Sometimes people suffering from spasticity may feel. Being a victim of either a spinal cord injury or suffered a stroke disease, there is a high possibility of been diagnosed with spasticity because over 17 to 38 percent of people usually experience spasticity after stroke. There might be a recommendation of surgery or botulinum toxin injections as a treatment as a focal treatment when only few muscle are affected which as part of ways in treating spasticity.
Prevalence and Incidence
It is estimated that over 12 million people globally suffer from spasticity.
It is also estimated that around 80 percent of people who has series of multiple sclerosis (MS) are diagnosed with different degrees of spasticity.
Treatment Of Spasticity
Luckily, there are quite a number of ways in which spasticity treatment can be carried out, the type of treatment required can’t be determined by the patient, rather the duty of the health care provider after critically examine such patient. The treatment on Mr may likely vary from that of Mr B due to different factors put into consideration like the cause of your Spasticity and the Severity of the spasticity.
Oral Medication can be used as a treatment of spasticity which will eventually block the neurotransmitters which causes the tighten in the muscle which the medication is popularly regarded as muscle relaxers.one of the few drugs often prescribed is baclofen which acts on the central nervous system with the target of reducing spasms which will further grant freedom for motion. Another common medication in oral medication is the use of Tizanidine which is used in treatment of blocked nerve impulses.
Some of the short comings of adopting an oral medication in treatment of spasticity are that, it becomes very cumbersome to target a specific muscle. Take for an instance, all your muscles will become relaxed regardless of either been affected by spasticity. One of the harsh realities associated with the treatment of spasticity is that, none of this medication guarantees the total cure of spasticity rather, they are best active when they are united with straitening activities or stretching of the traumatic brain injury and muscle.
Another means by which spasticity treatment can be ensured is the taking of injections, which will not enabled the stretching of the traumatic brain injury, but instead of the oral medication which lacks precision on the affected muscle areas, adopting injection as a medication will ensure the affected areas in the muscle will be accurately targeted. The familiar injection used in treating spasticity is the Botex or the Botulinum toxin mentioned earlier. They are the sets of injection designed specifically for this type if muscle illness to target the affected areas with in the body and this is one of the major advantages of adopting injection in treating spasticity.
The risk of spasticity will definitely be minimized ones Botox injection is been injected into the affected areas of the muscle which can afford the patient the comfort to participate in the physical therapy and as well as taking part in exercises that will aid his or her quick recovery. Though taking Botox injection can results in several side effect which includes, difficulties in swallowing, a very weak muscles, and soreness which are the likely side effect expected after taking Botox injection.
Stretching after TBI
One of the simplest way of to adopt at the recovery stage of spasticity is to involve in stretching exercise, by doing this; it helps fast track recovery. Note that, these exercises are adopted alongside certain medications like injection and other treatment methods for severe spasticity and finds it difficult to complete the exercise without additional intervention. Your therapist is in best position to educate you on passive range of motion (PROM) exercises. They are called passive range of motion exercises owing to the fact that the muscles are moved by an outside force.
In this regard, special orthotics designs are made simply for a relieve pressures on the joint which reduce spasticity by providing a prolonged muscle stretch and reduction in muscle spasms. Both the arms and the wrists are being kept on their neutral positions with the aid of static splints but sadly, studies have identified its ineffectiveness against spasticity. But instead, dynamic splints like SaeboStretch has emerged and preferred because moving of fingers is possible through flexion which is caused as a result of involuntary actions like the sneezing or yawning.
This is another method that can be adopted in solving the problem of spasticity; the device comes with a feature that enables the incorporation of specific support to the muscles and the joints, which aims at reducing the gravity impacts and making it easier moving either sore joints or stiffed ones. In severe cases when the tendons have completely become shortened, the recommendation will be to go for surgery in order to correct the abnormality. Orthopedic procedures are most the surgery for spasticity. It may either be lengthened or released in order to move the tension.