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Spasticity as a Result of Spinal Cord Injury

March 15, 2010

Spasticity (muscle spasms) occurs after a spinal cord injury. The cause of spasticity is that nerve cells below the level of the injury become disconnected from the brain. This results in changes to the nerves that control muscle activity. Spasticity is an exaggeration of normal reflexes that can occur any time the body is stimulated below the injury. When muscles are stretched or something irritates the body below the level of the injury, muscle spasms can occur. Sensations from the body are transmitted to the spinal cord but because the nerve cells are disconnected it causes muscles to contract or spasm.

Almost any stimulation can trigger spasticity. There are some conditions that cause more of a problem. Kidney and bladder infections or skin break down will cause spasms to increase. If an individual with spinal cord injury doesn’t perform regular range of motion exercises their muscles and joints will become less flexible. The lack of flexibility can cause severe spasms even with minor stimulation. Injuries to the feet and legs can also increase spasticity.

The spasticity that results from spinal cord injury can also have some benefit to the injured person. Muscle spasms can serve as an indicator to identify pain or problems in areas that are lacking sensation. As an example, the spasms can be an indication of a urinary tract infection coming on. Spasticity also helps to maintain muscle size and bone strength, and maintain circulation in the legs.

Spasticity is just one condition related to spinal cord injury. If you live in Indiana and are dealing with spasticity or other injury related conditions contact an experienced Indiana spinal cord lawyer at Truitt Law Offices.

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