Muscle Spasticity After a Stroke

What to Do About Painful Muscle Spasms

How to treat muscle spasticity

About one in five stroke survivors suffers from painful muscle spasms, which result when weakened muscles contract abnormally. Someone with muscle spasticity may have a tight fist, an abnormally bent arm, a stiff knee, or a pointed foot. Not only are these spasms extremely painful but they can interfere with walking or performing routine tasks. Left untreated, muscle spasticity may deform a stroke survivor's limbs, restrict his ability to move, and lead to pressure sores.

Treatment for muscle spasticity may be a mix of rehabilitation therapies, medications, and even surgery.

  • Therapies may include full range-of-motion exercises several times a day, gentle stretching of tight muscles, and frequent repositioning of body parts.
  • Oral medications include tizanidine, baclofen, benzodiazepines (like Valium and Klonopin), and dantrolene sodium.
  • Injected medications include botulinum toxin (also known as Botox), which targets specific muscles and lasts for up to three months. Injected phenol can alleviate pain for up to three years.
  • Surgery can block pain and restore some movement. But because of potential complications, it's the option of last resort.

As the caregiver of someone with muscle spasticity, you can help him manage it and get the right treatments.

  • Keep an eye out for "frozen" joints. If he's having trouble moving his arm or leg, try bending it for him. If it feels unusually stiff, that's probably due to a muscle spasm.
  • Keep track of when and where spasms occur. Also ask his nurses and rehabilitation team what positions typically set off muscle spasms.
  • Notify the doctor and rehabilitation team. Let the medical team know if the problem seems to be getting worse.

 

11 months ago, said...

My mom is having Alot of problems with this in her right foot. Now the spasms are moving IP her leg. The doc have her a muscle relaxer. Do any of these work better then those? My mom is having Alot of problems with this in her right foot. Now the spasms are moving IP her leg. The doc have her a muscle relaxer. Do any of these work better then those? Hide

over 1 year ago, said...

I am a physical therapist, with special interest in neurological rehabilitation. I am also in handling stroke survivors with spasticity. Can I have modern approaches in handling stroke and spasticity? I am a physical therapist, with special interest in neurological rehabilitation. I am also in handling stroke survivors with spasticity. Can I have modern approaches in handling stroke and spasticity? Hide

over 1 year ago, said...

I suffered a stroke 9 years ago. I still has spasticity after many therapy sessions and Botox injections. I am having my third foot surgery in a couple of weeks . I live by myself in a teo-story house and I book and drive. Even though Zi still have some Disabilty Si can still function and lead a good life. You csn never give up even if the future looks dim . Fight because you can over one. Am Si tired of how I have to live. Yes, I am but I can still function just not out ally like... Show more I suffered a stroke 9 years ago. I still has spasticity after many therapy sessions and Botox injections. I am having my third foot surgery in a couple of weeks . I live by myself in a teo-story house and I book and drive. Even though Zi still have some Disabilty Si can still function and lead a good life. You csn never give up even if the future looks dim . Fight because you can over one. Am Si tired of how I have to live. Yes, I am but I can still function just not out ally like Zgod made our bodies too! I still take antidepressants ! Who wouldn't in our situation. I miss being able to run in out of the rain! Oh well, I get a little wet Hide

over 1 year ago, said...

Spasticity has been far too long a nightmare to my post_stroke decade. Spasticity has been far too long a nightmare to my post_stroke decade. Hide

over 1 year ago, said...

My mother had stroke 4 yr ago .Shes right paralysed two weeks ago she broke her left leg it's swelling and has been painful and bruised . But now she is having terrible spasms in her right leg which is real painful and it is her paralysed leg and side. What can be done ? Or what meds can be given? My mother had stroke 4 yr ago .Shes right paralysed two weeks ago she broke her left leg it's swelling and has been painful and bruised . But now she is having terrible spasms in her right leg which is real painful and it is her paralysed leg and side. What can be done ? Or what meds can be given? Hide

about 2 years ago, said...

I had a stroke in Dec.2013 nerves in my back were going crazy, Dr. gave me Neurontin...it worked.. now I have a very stiff back...no pain.. I guess I'm lucky just stiff as a board.. I had a stroke in Dec.2013 nerves in my back were going crazy, Dr. gave me Neurontin...it worked.. now I have a very stiff back...no pain.. I guess I'm lucky just stiff as a board.. Hide

about 3 years ago, said...

My stroke affected my left side, my left leg spasms after I begin to rest, lasts about a half hour My stroke affected my left side, my left leg spasms after I begin to rest, lasts about a half hour Hide

almost 6 years ago, said...

i go through this all day long i go through this all day long Hide

about 6 years ago, said...

Hello, May I suggest you submit your question for possible answer by one of our experts by going to www.caring.com/ask. Best of luck! Hello, May I suggest you submit your question for possible answer by one of our experts by going to www.caring.com/ask. Best of luck! Hide

about 6 years ago, said...

Sir, I am a stroke, and a lot of things do not understood to me. like, I suffer irregular muscle pull , one day look very good and next day all stroke-limb very heavy to move. Pls help explaining how this happen Sir, I am a stroke, and a lot of things do not understood to me. like, I suffer irregular muscle pull , one day look very good and next day all stroke-limb very heavy to move. Pls help explaining how this happen Hide