American Stroke Foundation

WellnessSpasticity & Stroke FAQ

Spasticity & Stroke FAQ

What is Spasticity? (0:10 – 0:33)

Spasticity causes an increase in muscle tone and activity. This often leads to stiff and tight muscles and can even cause involuntary contractions to occur in the muscles whenever the arms or legs are moved.

How does spasticity occur? (0:33 – 1:00)

The brain sends signals to the muscles to control the level of muscle tone to move limbs in a typical pattern. After a stroke though, these signals can get damaged causing the muscles to become too active causing the increase in tone, stiffness, and involuntary movements.

What does spasticity look like? (1:00 – 1:58)

Spasticity may look different from person to person. Some specific examples of what contracture may look like include a clenched fist, a bent elbow, a stiff knee, or pointed foot.

How can I prevent spasticity at home? (1:58 – 2:37)

Some ways to possibly prevent spasticity and eventually contractures are to continuously move throughout the day, exercise regularly, and stretch.

What treatment options are available? (2:37 – 3:15)

Treatments for spasticity include assistive devices, medications, injections, and surgery.

Home modifications: (3:15 – 4:00)

Home modifications can make your ability to do your daily activities easier. Some modifications include ramps, grab bars, raised toilet seats, shower and tub benches, and non-slip surfaces.

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