Spasticity is a condition in which there is an abnormal increase in muscle tone or stiffness of muscle, which may interfere with movement, speech, or be associated with discomfort or pain.
Spasticity is usually caused by damage to nerve pathways within the brain or spinal cord that control muscle movement. It may occur in association with spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, stroke, acquired brain injury, and a variety of degenerative diseases of the brain.
Symptoms may include increased muscle tone (hypertonicity), clonus (a series of rapid muscle contractions), exaggerated tendon reflexes, muscle spasms, scissoring (involuntary crossing of the legs), and fixed joints (contractures). The degree of spasticity varies from mild muscle stiffness to severe, painful, and uncontrollable muscle spasms.
Spasticity can interfere with rehabilitation in patients with certain disorders, and often interferes with daily activities.
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