Spasticity

Spasticity Symptoms & Signs

Medical Author:

Spasticity is a condition of increased muscle tone in which muscles acquire a state of near constant contraction, or activity. Muscle spasticity causes a loss of range of motion of the affected area and a loss of function. There is also a resistance to movement by an examiner. In the affected muscles, spasticity can also cause symptoms such as

  • pain,
  • stiffness,
  • tightness.

Hyperactive reflexes, sudden or involuntary movements, abnormal posture, and bone and joint deformities can result from spasticity. Spasticity occurs when there has been damage or injury to part of the spinal cord or brain. Examples of conditions that can lead to spasticity include stroke, brain or spinal cord trauma, cerebral palsy, and multiple sclerosis.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/24/2015

Health concern on your mind? Visit the Symptom Checker.

REFERENCE:

Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.


Terms related to Spasticity:

  • Muscle Spasticity
Pictures, Images, Illustrations & Quizzes
Causes of Spasticity
    • Adult Brain Tumors Adult brain tumors are diseases in which cancer (malignant) cells begin to grow in the tissues of the brain. The brain controls...learn more »
      In This Article
      Adult Brain Tumors Article
      • Adult brain tumor facts*
      • What are adult brain tumors?
      • What are metastatic brain tumors?
      • What are the symptoms of an adult brain tumor?
      • What tests are used to find and diagnose adult brain tumors?
      • What is the grade of a tumor?
      • What are the types of adult brain tumors?
      • How are adult brain tumors treated?
      • Three types of standard treatment are used.
      • Other types of treatment that are being tested in clinical trials
      • Treatment options by type of adult brain tumor
      • Where can a patient get more information about adult brain tumors?
    • Alzheimer's Disease Alzheimer's disease is a common cause of dementia. Symptoms and warning signs of Alzheimer's disease include memory loss,...learn more »
      In This Article
      Alzheimer's Disease Article
      • Alzheimer's disease facts
      • What is Alzheimer's disease?
      • What's the difference between Alzheimer's disease and dementia?
      • Who's at risk for getting Alzheimer's disease?
      • Ten warning signs and symptoms of Alzheimer's disease
      • What are the stages of Alzheimer's disease?
      • What causes Alzheimer's disease?
      • How Alzheimer's disease diagnosed?
      • What treatment and management options are available for Alzheimer's disease patients?
      • Alzheimer's disease medications
      • Non-drug based treatments for Alzheimer's disease
      • Treatment of psychiatric symptoms in Alzheimer's disease
      • What is the prognosis for a person with Alzheimer's disease?
      • Caring for the caregiver and Alzheimer's disease resources
    • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, Lou Gehrig's disease) is a neurological disease that progresses rapidly. The disease attacks...learn more »
      In This Article
      Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Article
      • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis facts*
      • What is amyotrophic lateral sclerosis?
      • Who gets ALS?
      • What are the symptoms of ALS?
      • How is ALS diagnosed?
      • What causes ALS?
      • How is ALS treated?
      • What research is being done on ALS?
      • How can I help research for ALS?
      • Where can I get more information about ALS?
    • Brain Tumor A brain tumor can be either benign (non cancerous) or malignant (cancerous), primary, or secondary. Causes and risk factors...learn more »
      In This Article
      Brain Tumor Article
      • Brain tumor facts*
      • What is the brain?
      • What are the tumor grades and types?
      • Tumor grade
      • Types of primary brain tumors
      • What are the risk factors for brain tumors?
      • What are the symptoms of a brain tumor?
      • How are brain tumors diagnosed?
      • What is the treatment for a brain tumor?
      • What type of surgery is available for brain tumors?
      • Radiation therapy for brain tumors
      • Chemotherapy for brain tumors
      • What about a second opinion for brain tumor treatment?
      • Nutrition during brain tumor treatment
      • What supportive care is available for patients and caregivers?
      • What about rehabilitation after brain tumor treatment?
      • What about follow-up care after brain tumor treatment?
      • Sources of support
      • Taking part in cancer research
    • Cerebral Palsy Cerebral palsy (CP) is an abnormality of motor function and postural tone acquired at an early age (even before birth). Cerebral...learn more »
      In This Article
      Cerebral Palsy Article
      • Cerebral palsy definition and facts
      • What is cerebral palsy?
      • What are causes of cerebral palsy?
      • What are symptoms and signs of cerebral palsy?
      • What are the types of cerebral palsy?
      • What is spastic cerebral palsy?
      • What is dyskinetic cerebral palsy?
      • What is ataxic cerebral palsy?
      • What is dystonic cerebral palsy?
      • What is choreoathetoid cerebral palsy?
      • What is hypotonic cerebral palsy?
      • What is mixed cerebral palsy?
      • What other conditions are associated with cerebral palsy?
      • How is a child evaluated for cerebral palsy?
      • How is cerebral palsy treated?
      • What are specific treatment plans for cerebral palsy?
      • What is the long-term outlook for patients with cerebral palsy?
    • Head Injury (Brain Injury) In the United States, head injuries are one of the most common causes of death and disability. Head injuries due to bleeding are...learn more »
      In This Article
      Head Injury (Brain Injury) Article
      • Head injury facts
      • Head injury introduction
      • What are the causes of head injury?
      • What are the symptoms of a head injury?
      • What is the Glasgow Coma Scale?
      • When should I contact a doctor about a head injury?
      • How is a head injury diagnosed?
      • How is a head injury treated?
      • What is the prognosis for a head injury?
      • How can a head injury be prevented?
      • What about a head injury in infants and young children?
    • Huntington's Disease Huntington's disease is the result of degeneration of neurons in areas of the brain. Huntington's disease is an inherited...learn more »
      In This Article
      Huntington's Disease Article
      • Introduction to Huntington's disease
      • What causes Huntington's disease?
      • How is Huntington's disease inherited?
      • What are the symptoms and major effects of Huntington's disease?
      • At what age does Huntington's disease appear?
      • How is Huntington's disease diagnosed?
      • What is presymptomatic testing?
      • How is the presymptomatic test conducted?
      • How does a person decide whether to be tested?
      • Is there a treatment for Huntington's disease?
      • What kind of care does an individual with Huntington's disease need?
      • What community resources are available for Huntington's disease?
      • What research is being done on Huntington's disease?
      • How can I help?
      • What is the role of voluntary organizations?
      • Where can I get more information about Huntington's disease?
    • Lewy Body Dementia (Dementia with Lewy Bodies) Lewy body dementia (LBD or dementia with Lewy bodies) is one the most common causes of dementia. There are two types of LBD: 1)...learn more »
      In This Article
      Lewy Body Dementia (Dementia with Lewy Bodies) Article
      • Lewy body dementia facts*
      • Lewy body dementia (LBD) introduction
      • What are Lewy bodies?
      • What is Lewy body dementia (LBD)?
      • What are the types of Lewy body dementia (LBD)?
      • Who is affected by Lewy body dementia (LBD)?
      • What are the causes and risk factors for Lewy body dementia (LBD)?
      • What are the common symptoms of Lewy body dementia (LBD)?
      • Cognitive symptoms of Lewy body dementia
      • Behavoiral and mood symptoms of Lewy body dementia
      • Sleep disorders associated with Lewy body dementia
      • Movement symptoms of Lewy body dementia
      • Other Lewy body dementia symptoms
      • How is Lewy body dementia (LBD) diagnosed?
      • What is the treatment and management of Lewy body dementia (LBD)?
      • Medications for Lewy body dementia
      • Medications for cognitive symptoms
      • Medications for movement symptoms
      • Medications for sleep disorders
      • Medications for behavioral and mood problems
      • Other treatment considerations
    • Meningitis Encephalitis is a brain inflammation that causes sudden fever, vomiting, headache, light sensitivity, stiff neck and back,...learn more »
      In This Article
      Meningitis Article
      • Encephalitis and meningitis facts
      • What is encephalitis?
      • What causes encephalitis?
      • What are encephalitis symptoms and signs?
      • Is encephalitis contagious?
      • Is it possible to prevent encephalitis? Is there an encephalitis vaccine?
      • What is meningitis?
      • What causes meningitis?
      • What are meningitis symptoms and signs?
      • What is encephalomyelitis?
      • What are the risk factors for encephalitis and meningitis?
      • What specialties of doctors treat encephalitis and meningitis?
      • How do health-care professionals diagnose encephalitis and meningitis?
      • What is the treatment of encephalitis and meningitis?
      • What is the prognosis (outlook), and what are the complications for patients with encephalitis or meningitis?
      • Is meningitis contagious?
      • Is it possible to prevent meningitis? Is there a meningitis vaccine?
    • Multiple Sclerosis (MS Symptoms, Causes, and Life Expectancy) Multiple sclerosis or MS is an autoimmune disorder in which brain and spinal cord nerve cells become demyelinated. This damage...learn more »
    • Parkinson's Disease Parkinson's disease is a slowly progressive neurological disease characterized by a fixed inexpressive face, a tremor at rest,...learn more »
      In This Article
      Parkinson's Disease Article
      • Parkinson's disease facts
      • What is Parkinson's disease?
      • What causes Parkinson's disease?
      • What genes are linked to Parkinson's disease?
      • Who is at risk for Parkinson's disease?
      • What are the symptoms of Parkinson's disease?
      • What other conditions resemble Parkinson's disease?
      • How is Parkinson's disease diagnosed?
      • What is the treatment for Parkinson's disease?
      • How can people learn to cope with Parkinson's disease?
      • Can Parkinson's disease be prevented?
      • What is the prognosis of Parkinson's disease?
    • Phenylketonuria Phenylketonuria (PKU) is a disorder that is inherited. PKU disorder increases the levels of phenylalanine in the blood....learn more »
      In This Article
      Phenylketonuria Article
      • Phenylketonuria (PKU) definition and facts*
      • What is phenylketonuria?
      • How common is phenylketonuria?
      • What genes are related to phenylketonuria?
      • How do people inherit phenylketonuria?
      • What other names do people use for phenylketonuria?
    • Stroke A stroke is an interruption of the blood supply to part of the brain caused by either a blood clot (ischemic) or bleeding...learn more »
      In This Article
      Stroke Article
      • Stroke definition and facts
      • What is a stroke?
      • What is the NIH Stroke Scale?
      • What are the risk factors for stroke?
      • What are the warning signs and symptoms of a stroke?
      • What are the signs and symptoms of a stroke?
      • What is a transient ischemic attack (TIA)?
      • What are the types of stroke?
      • What causes a stroke?
      • What tests diagnose stroke?
      • What is the treatment for stroke?
      • Is recovery after a stroke possible?
      • What is stroke rehabilitation?
      • What is the prognosis for a person that suffers a stroke?
      • Which specialties of doctors treat stroke?
      • Can strokes be prevented?
Other Causes of Spasticity
  • Adrenoleukodystrophy
  • Friedrich's Ataxia
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases
  • Spinal Cord Tumor
Examples of Medications for Spasticity


Symptoms & Signs A-Z List