Saturday, June 4, 2011

A Knot is a Knot, is it Not?

The topic of spasticity has been on my mind since I’ve been experiencing it more lately.  Four years ago, I did not understand what was spasticity and what was not.  I complained of really tight muscles to my neurologist who suggested that I exercise more.  His advice was logical but it didn’t directly solve my problem.

For many months I lived with this excess tightness which no amount of stretching seemed to resolve.  Yoga was nice, as was swimming, but I never seemed to achieve that blissful level of release in my muscles which I so desired.

It wasn’t until a year later (or so) that the tightness and stiffness in my legs got to the point where I just had to complain about it in an appointment.  During this appointment, I was consulting with the nurse practitioner who prescribed a trial of Baclofen.  I started at a low dose as she suggested and gradually increased it every few days ever so much. 

Within about a week, I began to feel a difference.  Thank goodness!! 

The message from my brain and through my spinal cord had been misinforming my leg muscles to pull against themselves.  Or rather the spasticity was the result of an imbalance between hyperactive muscle stretch reflexes and muscle contractions. The prescription medication served to disrupt this incorrect message and to break the cycle of stretching and pulling which tied up the muscles in knots.

Keep in mind that my experience with spasticity is just that… personal experience.  Many MS patients have spasticity which is much more dramatic and disabling than I have had.  My spasticity primarily effects my calves and hamstrings.  However, it is actually more common in MS patients to have spasticity in the thighs (front of the leg) and dorsiflex muscles (on the shins).

Read this post in its entirety:
Spasticity in Multiple Sclerosis: Not Just a Knot in the Muscles

1 comment:

  1. You described it so well, Lisa. I have it in the same areas -- I call it my old sports wounds! Hah! I still try to handle it without meds, but may eventually give in.