Living with Spasticity: Adaptations, Aids, and Exercise

Linda Rider

A bodily therapist can enable folks with spasticity by building stretching and strengthening programs created to target specific muscle mass groups, physical therapist Chris Venus, NCS, a board-accredited neurologic clinical expert at the College of Pittsburgh Medical Center, tells SELF.

“Stretching temporarily lessens the volume of spasticity on a distinct joint of a limb,” he says. In addition, strengthening the muscle groups that perform in opposition to these that are spasming may possibly support “overpower” the results of spasticity.

Dr. Diaz provides that passive or manual stretching—applying external power onto a muscle you want to stretch—may be suggested when there is considerable muscle weakness.

Electrical treatment can also be employed to assistance reduce muscle mass stiffness and suffering. Functional electrical stimulation (FES) and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) are normally made use of in actual physical therapy to handle spasticity, states Dr. Diaz. According to a 2018 analyze posted in the Journal of Spinal Twine Medication, just just one session of FES or TENS might help cut down spasticity signs and symptoms for about four hrs.2

Last but not least, techniques like ice massages, ice baths, and coolant sprays may possibly assist ease spastic muscle tissue, if only in the limited phrase.3 A different bodily therapy strategy for spasticity is hydrotherapy. According to Dr. Diaz, the antigravity result of drinking water delivers aid and aids aid muscle movement.

3. Occupational remedy can enable you execute day-to-day responsibilities.

All right, so we know that bodily treatment can assist reduce muscular stiffness, reduce soreness, and strengthen array of movement. Occupational treatment complements all of individuals benefits, suggests Dr. Diaz, with a target on wonderful motor expertise necessary for day-to-working day functions these kinds of as ingesting, dressing, bathing, heading to the bathroom, executing house chores, actively playing Wordle (just us?), and going to do the job.

“An occupational therapist will assess how spasticity affects a person’s practical talents and develop an individualized system to enhance purpose,” points out Dr. Diaz. This might include a single or much more of the next:

  • Practicing actions included in every day duties
  • Relearning general performance tasks to keep away from spastic actions
  • Adapting home or work surroundings to make duties a lot easier
  • Recommending assistive equipment
  • Participating in speech therapy

4. Splinting, casting, and bracing for support are also possibilities.

Splints, casts, and braces are units that are intended to aid manage physique motions, alter the shape of overall body tissues, and increase assortment of movement and adaptability.

Orthotics and splints are rigid or semirigid gadgets that deliver assistance or restrict movement.

Splints can help assist weak muscle tissues and keep the limb in a normal situation to avoid contracture, which is the tightening of muscular tissues, tendons, joints, or other tissues.

Braces and casts can support keep and often make improvements to adaptability and array of movement in situations of elevated spasticity. Even so, Venus says, these should be combined with an appropriate stretching system to be successful. In accordance to Dr. Diaz, serial casts—basically a solid that forces the muscle into a stretched position—can be made use of to assist lengthen and straighten contracted muscles, which could boost the selection of movement in a joint that is currently contracted.

All of these products ought to be measured and equipped by your therapist for finest performance, suggests Venus, because an sick-fitting brace can really have the opposite outcome and improve spasticity.

5. Keeping active is a biggie for maintaining spasticity in look at.

Getting standard exercising is vital for physical and mental wellness, and partaking in the right functions that complement your overall spasticity procedure prepare and diagnosis is critical. Which is why it is critical to get the job done intently with your health care provider to design an exercising schedule outdoors of your standard physical and occupational remedy plan. You do not have to practice for a marathon to reap the benefits of typical workout it could be as simple as working towards some mild yoga moves.

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