Spasticity Specialist

Justin Waltrous, MD -  - Sports Medicine Specialist

Maryland Sports, Spine and Musculoskeletal Institute

Justin Waltrous, MD

Sports Medicine Specialist & Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Specialist located in Pasadena, MD

Muscle spasticity can cause debilitating pain and make it difficult to move, speak, and function independently. Experienced physiatrist Justin Waltrous, MD, offers compassionate care for people living with spasticity at Maryland Sports, Spine and Musculoskeletal Institute in Pasadena, Maryland. If spasticity is negatively affecting your quality of life, call the office or schedule an appointment online today.

Spasticity Q & A

What is spasticity?

Spasticity is a condition that causes abnormal muscle contraction. This leads to muscle stiffness that can interfere with your ability to walk, move, or speak normally.

Ordinarily, a complex network of nerve impulses causes certain muscles to contract while others relax. This allows you to perform voluntary movements, such as brushing your teeth. Spasticity happens when damage to a part of your brain or spinal cord disrupts the signals between your nervous system and muscles.

What are the symptoms of spasticity?

Spasticity episodes can range in severity from mild to completely disabling. Common symptoms of spasticity include:

  • Abnormal posture
  • Muscle tightness
  • Muscle spasms
  • Joint stiffness
  • Involuntary jerky movements
  • Pain in the affected muscles and joints
  • Difficulty controlling muscles used to speak

These symptoms can interfere with everyday routines such as personal hygiene and make it difficult to care for yourself.  

What causes spasticity?

Spasticity usually results from damage to nerves in your central nervous system (brain and spinal cord). Numerous common medical conditions can cause this type of damage, including:

  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Multiple sclerosis (MS)
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Stroke

Regardless of the cause, severity, and specific symptoms of your spasticity, Dr. Waltrous can develop an individualized treatment plan to help improve your quality of life.

How is spasticity diagnosed?

To diagnose spasticity, Dr. Waltrous thoroughly reviews your symptoms and medical history and performs a physical exam. Then, he recommends the best course of treatment based on factors such as:

  • Underlying condition causing your spasticity
  • Frequency of your spasticity episodes
  • Severity of your spasticity pain and disability

Once he reaches a diagnosis, Dr. Waltrous can then develop an optimal treatment plan.

How is spasticity treated?

Treatment for spasticity focuses on improving your ability to function independently and relieving your pain or discomfort. Depending on your specific condition, Dr. Waltrous may recommend one or more of the following treatments:

  • Physical and occupational therapy
  • Oral medications, such as muscle relaxers
  • Medicine injections, such as botulinum toxin (Botox®)

If your spasticity doesn’t improve with conservative treatments, Dr. Waltrous may recommend surgery. Surgical treatments for spasticity can include implanting an intrathecal pain pump or severing specific nerve roots.

To find the right treatment for your spasticity, call Maryland Sports, Spine and Musculoskeletal Institute or schedule an appointment online today.

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