Text Size: a  |   a 

Controlling Spasticity in Multiple Sclerosis

June 30, 2016

Affecting around 80 percent of patients with multiple sclerosis, spasticity is definitely one of the more common symptoms of the autoimmune disease. In the case of MS, spasticity usually emerges from relaxation and contraction in opposition muscles at the same time, caused by upper motor neuron damage. Upper motor neuron damage usually disrupts muscle movement’s normal coordination, because of this the muscles constantly contract which causes increased stiffness and tone which ultimately leads to a decreased range motion of major joints. This can also eventually lead to shortened connective tissue around the joints which can cause contractures.

While stiffness can range from a minimal level to an extreme level, making it very painful, it occurs most frequently in the antigravity or postural muscles. These include muscles of the calf, thighs, buttocks, groin and occasionally those of the back.

The signs and symptoms of spasticity include:

  • Increased deep tendon reflexes
  • Clonus (repetitive rhythmic beating movement of foot or wrist)
  • Difficulty with initiating movements
  • Impaired voluntary movements
  • Difficulty relaxing muscles when movement has stopped
  • Sensation of pain/muscle tightening
  • Decreased range of motion
  • Flexion or extension synergy patterns

Intrathecal Pump
In order to control spasticity as best as possible, it is important to speak with your physician first.

Basic Home Infusion specializes in managing intrathecal pumps in patients’ homes in order to help relieve sever spasticity and chronic pain.

What the intrathecal pump does is deliver a small dose of medication directly into the spinal column of patients to alleviate pain from spasticity. The pump, which is approximately around the same size as a hockey puck, is surgically implanted into the patient’s right or left lower abdomen. A catheter is then attached to the pump and tunneled around the side in order to reach the spinal column. The entire pump system is not physically visible by looking at the skin as it is completely implanted in the body.

Since the pump is programmed by a specific programming device, your managing physician will order the allotted amount of medication to be delivered through the pump as needed. This allows for the medication to run continuously through the catheter into the intrathecal space in the spine at a programmed rate.  

A successful trial must take place first in order to determine if the pump will be effective for each patient, but many individuals have experienced great relief from using this intrathecal pump system.