Spasticity is where the muscles become stiffened and often spasm due to nerve damage — it’s a common symptom associated with multiple sclerosis (MS).
Generally, the spasticity occurs in the arms and legs and may impact the way a person can move their limbs. According to WebMD, for some people living with MS, the spasticity may come and go — particularly during the night — while others may experience spasticity all the time.
Weather can often affect the severity of spasticity, with many experiencing worsening symptoms during either hot or cold weather. Other factors that can influence spasticity are infections and even wearing tight clothing.
There are ways to treat spasticity, but the method will depend on how severe the spasticity is and the effect it has on the person’s daily life. The first port of call is usually physical therapy, which will use exercises designed to stretch and elongate the muscles to help reduce stiffness.
Occupational therapy involves the use of items that may help improve mobility, including casts, braces, walking sticks, or splints.
If occupational or physical therapy has no effect on the spasticity, doctors may prescribe medications to relax the muscles or aid sleep if spasticity is worse at night. In severe cases, surgery may be required to cut away affected spinal nerves (rhizotomy) or tenotomy, which cuts tight tendons away from muscles to relieve tension.
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