Spasticity and Cerebral Palsy

Prevalence and Effects

In people with cerebral palsy, spasticity is defined by “tight muscles and awkward movements.”

Approximately 70 to 80% of people with cerebral palsy have some type of spasticity. The presence of spasticity is so common among those with CP that the most prevalent form of CP is called “spastic cerebral palsy.”

It is estimated that approximately 17 million people worldwide have cerebral palsy, meaning that approximately 13.6 million people worldwide have spasticity as a result of cerebral palsy. Spasticity is one of the most well-known symptoms of cerebral palsy, with tight muscles and awkward movements often considered to be a hallmark of the condition.

For many people with spastic cerebral palsy, movement can be extremely difficult, or sometimes even impossible due to stiff muscles (UCP). Spasticity can also make it difficult for people with cerebral palsy to hold and grip objects, or even speak depending on which muscles are affected by spasticity.

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Treatment and Management

Although there is no cure for spasticity, there is a range of treatments and interventions available to help people with cerebral palsy and spasticity live a life without limits. Treatment options range from physical and occupational therapy which can help individuals with cerebral palsy and spasticity learn how to do activities of daily living which may be affected by spasticity, to medications, and even potential surgical interventions.

There is a range of medication based and surgical treatment options for spasticity in individuals with cerebral palsy. These treatment options include but are not limited to: Botulinum Toxin A (Botox Injections), Oral Baclofen, Intrathecal Baclofen, and a surgical procedure known as Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR). The use of Intrathecal Baclofen also requires the surgical implantation of a device known as a Baclofen Pump.

For more information on these and other potential interventions for spasticity in individuals with cerebral palsy visit our website.