Following a spinal cord injury, you may require extensive rehabilitation to adapt to post-accident life and optimize your recovery. Spasticity is a type of muscle overactivity that happens when you have a spinal cord injury that disrupts the communication between your spinal cord and brain.
Spasticity can cause pain, stiffness, muscle spasms and fatigue. Fortunately, there are ways to manage spasticity through rehabilitation.
Medication for spasticity
Physicians may prescribe medications designed to reduce muscle spasticity. Medications may include oral medicine or injections. Injections with botox, for example, can decrease muscle signals to reduce spasticity. While botox is temporary, you can strengthen your muscles following treatment and have a new injection once every three months.
Intrathecal therapy can also treat spasticity. In intrathecal therapy, you have an implantable pump and catheter system. The device pumps medication into the fluid surrounding your spinal cord 24 hours a day.
Exercise for spasticity
During rehabilitation, your physical therapists will help you with various activities that may strengthen your muscles and help you increase your range of muscles. The exercises prevent the shortening and tightening of the muscles.
Therapists often suggest stretching your muscles and joints to increase movement and flexibility. If you cannot stretch on your own, you can stretch with the help of a trainer or loved one. Most people with SCI need to stretch multiple times a day.
An accident resulting from a spinal cord injury can completely change how you manage your day-to-day life. The care associated with spinal cord injuries continues throughout rehabilitation and into recovery.