The term of spasticity is rooted in the Greek word Spasmus and means convulsion. While a slight amount of residual tension (muscle tone) remains in a normal muscle with intact nerves when it is relaxed, this muscle tension suddenly and uncontrollably increases in spasticity. The harmonic interplay of the flexor and extensor musculature is disturbed. Fine movements are difficult or become impossible. The stiffness of the muscles places severe overall limitations on movement.
External stimuli trigger spasticity
The cause of spasticity lies in damage to the central nervous system. The symptoms very greatly: Defects in the region of the spine or brain, for instance due to multiple sclerosis, paraplegia, skull and brain trauma or cerebral paresis may cause differing symptoms. In everyday life, spasticity is triggered by movements and external stimuli such as heat, cold, pressure or pain.
Neurostimulation as a therapy for spasticity
The therapeutic goals and measures in individual patients differ depending on the type and severity of spasticity. In most cases, therapy is based on physiotherapy. With special exercises, the physiotherapist attempts to minimize spasms, maintain joint mobility and strengthen healthy muscle areas. Consequential damage such as shortened muscles which further limit movement and cause wrong joint positions is prevented. Aside from orthotic treatment, neurostimulation in particular has led to noticeable therapeutic successes. With the neuroimplant ActiGait for weakness of the tibialis anterior (foot lifter) muscle or the surface stimulator STIWELL med4, motor function which is impaired by spasticity can be effectively supported.