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Acta Neurol Scand Suppl. 2010;(190):62-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0404.2010.01378.x.

Clinical assessment and management of spasticity: a review.

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Department of Neurology, Haukeland University Hospital, Bergen, Norway.


Spasticity is a sign of upper motor neurone lesion, which can be located in the cerebrum or the spinal cord, and be caused by stroke, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury, brain injury, cerebral paresis, or other neurological conditions. Management is dependent on clinical assessment. Positive and negative effects of spasticity should be considered. Ashworth score and the modified Ashworth score are the most used scales for assessment of spasticity. These and other spasticity scales are based on assessment of resistance during passive movement. The main goal of management is functional improvement. A novel 100-point score to assess disability, function related to spasticity (Rekand disability and spasticity score) is proposed. Management of spasticity should be multimodal and should always include physiotherapy or exercise. Oral medications such as baclofen and tizanidine have limited efficacy and considerable side effects, but are easiest to use. Botulinum toxin combined with physiotherapy and/or orthopaedic surgery is effective treatment of localized spasticity. Treatment with intrathecal baclofen via programmable implanted pump is effective in generalized spasticity, particularly in the lower extremities. Neurosurgical and orthopaedic procedures may be considered in intractable cases.

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