Hillside Rehabilitation Hospital – Treating Spasticity Chat

Sponsored Content: Hillside Rehabilitation Hospital

Susan DeLeo and Dr. Daniel Winkle sit down on this weeks Health Chat

There’s only one facility in the area with a comprehensive program for spasticity. That program resides at Hillside Rehabilitation Hospital.

Spasticity can be as unique as the individual who has it. The team at Hillside has developed an individualized and comprehensive approach, working directly with each patient to find a treatment plan that will work best for them.

The Comprehensive Program for Spasticity at Hillside uses a collaborative approach, with direct interaction between all members of the rehabilitation team. The rehabilitation team for spasticity includes physiatrists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, and nurses.

Spasticity is the uncontrolled tightening of muscles along with the inability to relax or loosen them. It’s usually caused by injury or damage to the portion of the brain or spine that controls voluntary movement.

Common symptoms of spasticity include: 
•    Muscle tightness
•    Joint stiffness
•    Involuntary jerks and movements
•    Unusual posture
•    Muscle spasms
•    Muscle fatigue
•    Difficulty with care and hygiene

Spasticity is typically found in patients with cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury or stroke. Although there is no cure, Hillside utilizes the latest technologies and treatments, such as intrathecal baclofen therapy (ITB) to reduce pain and relieve muscle spasms.

To determine whether ITB Therapy is expected to produce a positive response, the patient undergoes an ITB trial. This trial requires the administration of a test dose of baclofen via lumbar puncture into the spinal fluid. Peak effects of the drug usually happen within four hours.

Patients who respond positively to the trial can be considered a surgical candidate for the pump. Because the drug (Baclofen) is administered directly to its site of action within the spinal cord, much less is needed than if the drug were taken by mouth (often 100 times less), and more of the drug reaches the nerve cells.

Other highly effective treatments available to manage spasticity include physical therapy, medications, and Botulinum Toxin Therapy. 

Botulinum Toxin Therapy is an injectable medication that blocks the abnormal signals between the nerve and muscle, allowing the muscle to relax. This therapy is delivered in very small amounts, directly into the muscle, and has proven to be very effective for focal spasticity.

While spasticity can make everyday life difficult, proper management can greatly improve quality of life by decreasing pain, increasing joint range of motion and improving the ease of activities of daily living.

The physical medicine and rehabilitation specialists at Hillside have expertise in spasticity management, producing superior outcomes.

For more information on the Comprehensive Program for Spasticity Evaluation and Management, call 330-841-3607.

Learn more about Hillside Rehabilitation Hospital on their website.

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