A brain injury has a negative effect on many of the body’s normal functions, including muscle function. Studies have shown that approximately 50 percent of all brain injured people, go on to develop spasticity. When spasticity is present, certain muscles do not have the ability to relax normally. Below is an overview of spasticity after brain injury and what can be done to combat it.
Common Causes Of Brain Injuries
The severity of a brain injury depends on the amount and type of force that impacts the head. Some of the most common causes of brain injuries include:
- Traumatic Brain Injury
- Diffuse Axonal Injury Such As Shaken Baby Syndrome
- Anoxic Event
- Acquired Brain Disorders
- Brain Contusions
What Is Spasticity After Brain Injury?
When someone is brain injured and spasticity is present, it can be painful and debilitating. In a normal brain, signals are sent from the brain to the muscles which helps regulate muscle tone and control. When a brain injury occurs, the brain may not be capable of sending these messages and spasticity may develop.
Symptoms Associated With Spasticity
While spasticity can affect people in different ways, some of the most common symptoms it causes are:
- Diminished Range Of Motion
- Painful Movement Of Affected Limbs
- Involuntary Stiffness
- Extreme Muscle Tightness
Spasticity after a brain injury can be mild or severe. If left untreated, severe spasticity can lead to a permanent contractures of the affected muscles or muscle groups. Some brain injury patients have limp joints immediately after the injury and spasticity sets in over time.
How Spasticity Is Managed
People with spasticity after a brain injury often have pain is intense and must be managed with medication and other forms of treatment. Some of the most common treatments include:
- Physical Therapy
- Occupational Therapy
- Splinting Of The Affected Joints
- Casting Of Affected Limbs
- Prescription Medication
- Medication Delivered Continuously Through A Pump
- Surgery To Relieve Contractures
Complications Associated With Spasticity
People who suffer a brain injury and develop spasticity often leads to additional complications. Some of the most common complications associated with spasticity in people who have suffered a brain injury are:
- Chronic Urinary Tract Infections
- Systemic Illnesses
- Ulcers And Pressure Sores
- Recurrent Constipation
Spasticity in children can be especially serious and lead to growth complications. Early diagnosis and treatment is key to avoiding serious and lasting problems associated with this condition following a brain injury in children and adults.
After a serious TBI and amazing comeback, Leon Edward is committed to helping others understand any sudden disruption in people’s lives as from TBI or concussions, emphasize safety and proper care in the home and enjoy their lives after a serious injury or medical issues.
For Leon, the past 35 plus years since his severe head injury, left one lingering desire: the need to give something back. a way to provide something meaningful for the families and loved ones of patients who now or in the future, will face the same painful disruption of their lives and the same long journey he had to undertake such a long time ago.
Learn more and read details on his collaborative work with Dr. Anum at
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