What is spasticity?

Updated: Jun 28, 2019
  • Author: Krupa Pandey, MD; Chief Editor: Stephen A Berman, MD, PhD, MBA  more...
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Spasticity is increased, involuntary, velocity-dependent muscle tone that causes resistance to movement. The condition may occur secondary to a disorder or trauma, such as a tumor, a stroke, multiple sclerosis (MS), cerebral palsy, or a spinal cord, brain, or peripheral nerve injury. (See Pathophysiology and Etiology.)

Spasticity usually is accompanied by paresis and other signs, such as increased stretch reflexes, which collectively are called upper motor neuron syndrome. Paresis particularly affects distal muscles, with loss of the ability to perform fractionated movements of the digits. (See Clinical Presentation.)

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