Multiple Sclerosis Symptom: Spasticity

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What is Spasticity?

Spasticity
effects about 20-34% of MS patients in some way shape or form. It is
a very common symptom.

Spasticity
is a feeling of tightness, usually in the legs but it can effect any
part of the body. It is considered an increase in muscle tone and
there are two types of spasticity that are common among Multiple
Sclerosis.
Flexor
– Involves hamstrings in upper legs and the hip flexors (muscles at
top of upper thigh).
Extensor
– Involves Quads and adductors (muscle on front and inside of upper
leg).
This
can cause painful spasms, lower back pain, and joint pain. It can
also effect your gate (obviously) as your muscles do not allow your
gate to “flow”, everything can feel rigid, mechanical, and some
people may not be able to bend their legs at all!
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Treatments:
Baclofen
– the most common treatment, a muscle relaxer that targets nerves in
the spinal cord.
Baclofen
Pump
– Pump that is surgically implanted under the skin and
releases a set dose of Baclofen into the spinal cord via a tube.
Tizanadine
(Zanaflex)
– another option, Zanaflex is a skeletal muscle relaxer
which slows down action in the brain and nervous system. This works
great for spasms but can cause really bad cotton mouth!
Diazepam
(Valium)
– This drug has a strong sedation effect, many people use
it to sleep which is why it’s typically prescribed to help when
spasticity is interfering with sleep. Also used for anxiety and to
help prevent seizures. Can be addictive.
Dantrolene
(Dantrium
) – Typically only used when other drugs have not worked.
Can cause some tough side effects.
Botox
– Injections can help relieve spasticity for around 3 months, as
always, this varies from person to person.
Exercise
and stretching! Even massage, acupuncture, supplements such as
Magnesium, or Cannabis are said to help.
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My Experience

Spasticity was never an issue for me until my major
relapse at the beginning of 2012. When it first hit, my right leg was
fully extended and so tight I could not bend it, in fact, I remember
a nurse leaning into it and not being able to bend it at all. I have
never been in that kind of pain. I remember them giving me a shot of
Dilaudid and feeling almost no relief. I was asking for Norco as soon
as it was available because my lower back was so tight from my leg
being extended to the max. After a while (and much rehab) I was able
to bend my legs on my own, but they have never fully recovered.

Now
they always feel tight, I feel as though I am walking with two pegs
for legs, sometimes they cramp up, hurt, but most often I can just
deal with it. I have tried Baclofen and Zanaflex but nothing has
really made it go away. The Zanaflex made me really dizzy so now I
just use Baclofen when they are tight enough to hurt. Botox was my
next option but I skipped that appointment to see what my new
neurologist would want. So I have got used to it but I would say it
is one of my worst symptoms in that, I can not walk well because of
it, I use a cane and can get around but it really does limit me…

I
also take Magnesium and Calcium as well as exercise and stretch 2-3
times a day. If I do not exercise I can feel it… Massage and pool
therapy to keep me moving are next in line.

4 Responses to Multiple Sclerosis Symptom: Spasticity

  1. I control mine with a combo of Valium and exercise…so far so OK. (4 years) B4 this it was Zanaflex, used it for a decade, I end up in ICU, and was told if I lept using it one day I would NOT wake up. The sedation can be very strong.

  2. Matt Allen G says:

    Does the Valium make you sleepy? Zanaflex didn't for me, just dizzy….

  3. Anonymous says:

    I take a benzo (xanax) and a small dose doesn't make me dizzy. Hope that helps. (I take it for an anxiety disorder though).

  4. Matt Allen G says:

    Hmm…. I have Temazepam I use for sleep… Never heard of that. Mine are capsules though so know half for me haha!

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