Traumatic brain injuries affect as many as 2 million people each year, and some victims develop spasticity as a result.
Spasticity is common in people with severe brain injuries. Those with spasticity may feel that their muscles have contracted, and do not stretch or relax. Some other symptoms include muscle weakness, overactive reflexes, and loss of fine motor skills.
In this article, we will discuss how TBI patients may be affected by spasticity.
Facts About Spasticity
Victims of severe traumatic brain injuries can suffer from spasticity as well as cognitive and other motor impairments. Here are some of the facts about spasticity:
- Many TBI patient either have easily controlled spasticity or do not have it at all
- The brain injury can cause the muscles in the body to become stiff, difficult to stretch and overactive. The muscles may tighten suddenly or “spasm”. Medically, it is termed spasticity.
- Spasticity may not be equally troublesome in all cases, and some may not even require treatment
- Spasticity may not be persistent, and may become worse with certain activities or at night.
- If only a few muscles are affected, treatments such as botulinum toxin injections and nerve blocks may effective. Surgery may also be an option in this case.
Symptoms of Spasticity
The degree and symptoms of spasticity varies from person to person:
- Muscle tightness during activity
- Sudden and involuntary relaxing or tightening of a limb or jerking of muscles in the chest, back or abdomen
While the symptoms of spasticity can occur anytime, they are more likely to occur when:
- Feel emotional stress
- Move or stretch an arm or a leg
- Have a full bladder or urinary tract infection
- Have large hemorrhoids or constipation
- Have an injury to the bones, muscles and tendons
- Wear tight clothing
- Have any kind of skin irritation
Problems Caused by Spasticity
While spasticity is not always bothersome or harmful, it may not always need treatment. There are some problems accompanying spasticity that may be particularly bothersome. Some of these problems include:
- Pain when muscles tighten
- Difficulty taking deep breaths
- Limited motion
- Poor sleep and fatigue during the day
- Poor positioning in a bed or chair
- Difficulty maintaining proper hygiene
- Skin pressure ulcers
- Limited use of hands
Physical therapy is commonly used for coping with spasticity. Some common physical treatments include regular stretching exercises to improve flexibility, use of cold packs, and splints and braces for continuous muscle stretching.
Although medication is commonly used to control spasticity, but it has its own side effects. Oral medication is most effective when there is spasticity in several parts of the body. Some common side effects these medications such as sleepiness are particularly intense after a brain injury.
For those who have spasticity in a single location, focal interventions are used. Anesthetic medications, phenol, neurotoxins and alcohol can be injected into the affected muscles and nerves to reduce muscle hyperactivity in order to control spasticity in local areas.
Chicago Traumatic Brain Injury Attorney
If you or a loved one have suffered TBI in a car accident as the result of another person’s negligent behavior, contact a traumatic brain injury lawyer at Willens Law Offices. We don’t represent insurance companies. We don’t represent physicians in medical malpractice matters. We focus exclusively on representing individuals and their families who were injured by someone else’s negligence.
Since we charge no legal fees, unless and until we succeed in obtaining a monetary recovery for you, you can count on us fighting hard to get you the compensation you need and deserve. Call us today at (312) 957-4166 or fill out our online contact form for your FREE consultation.