What Is Spasticity?

Spasticity is an abnormal increase in muscle tone that causes muscles to continually contract. Continual contraction of the muscles leads to tightness or stiffness of the muscles that can interfere with movement.

While the exact number of people affected by spasticity is not known for sure, it is likely that it affects more than half a million people in the United States and more than 12 million worldwide. Spasticity is a common complication of:

  • Cerebral palsy
  • Brain injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Stroke

Functional Neurosurgery Program at Northwestern Memorial Hospital
The Functional Neurosurgery Program specialists at Northwestern Memorial Hospital work in integrated teams to provide patients with a multidisciplinary approach to their care, including:

  • Assessment by a fellowship-trained neurologist in movement disorders and epilepsy
  • Comprehensive pharmacological therapy
  • Neurosurgical evaluations for deep brain stimulation (DBS), epilepsy surgery, pain surgery, intrathecal medication infusion and other therapeutic procedures
  • The opportunity to participate in clinical research trials
  • Physical, occupational and speech therapy through Northwestern Memorial Hospital in conjunction with the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago
  • Social work services: consultation, counseling, support groups and access to community services and resources
  • Educational programs
  • Learning materials: books, videos, audiotapes and internet resources
  • Neuropsychology services

The board-certified neurologists at Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital are trained in the diagnosis and treatment of nervous system disorders, including diseases of the brain, spinal cord, nerves and muscles. They diagnose and treat patients with a full range of neurological disorders, including spasticity.