When Does Spasticity Occur After A Stroke?

Featured Image

At Aether Medicine in Wayne, PA, our professional team provides physical medicine and rehabilitation for a wide variety of medical conditions that have caused physical impairment, disability, and debilitating acute and chronic pain. Dr. Asare Christian is a board-certified physical medicine and rehabilitation physician who provides numerous treatment options for patients who have experienced musculoskeletal and neurological conditions that have greatly restricted daily function, including stroke.

What is Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R)?

Physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R) is a specific branch of medicine that addresses functional impairments and physical limitations caused by musculoskeletal and/or neurological disorders. PM&R intervention plans are led by doctors called physiatrists who specialize in assessing, diagnosing, and treating injuries, pain, and disabilities related to musculoskeletal and neurological impairments.

What medical conditions can be addressed using PM&R?

Physiatrists can provide treatment plans for multiple medical conditions in Wayne, PA, including:

  • Stroke

  • Multiple sclerosis

  • Traumatic brain injury

  • Spinal cord injury

  • Sports-related injuries

  • Post-operative pain management problems

  • Pain related to cancer

  • Cerebral palsy

  • Post-concussion

  • Chronic regional pain syndrome (CRPS)

  • Multi-trauma and musculoskeletal injuries

  • Workplace injuries

  • Back pain

Patients who experience both acute and chronic pain from injury and degenerative neurological disorders would benefit from visiting with a physiatrist. Dr. Christian conducts thorough initial assessments to examine the big picture, collect all personal and medical history information, and develop a customized treatment plan to help patients regain normal function and a higher quality of life.

What is a stroke?

A stroke, otherwise known as a cerebrovascular accident (CVA), is damage to the brain brought on by a disruption of blood flow to brain tissue. A stroke can be either embolic (blood clot) or hemorrhagic (brain bleed) and causes a host of physical and cognitive issues. Depending on where the stroke takes place in the brain or how massive the damage is, patients can experience many forms of paralysis, including hemiplegia. Hemiplegia is when one side of the body is temporarily or permanently paralyzed, including the arm, hand, torso, leg, and foot. With time, voluntary muscle movement and sensation may change, causing muscle contraction issues, including spasticity.

What is spasticity?

Spasticity is an abnormal tightness or stiffness in muscle tissue that prevents typical and fluid movement of the body. Because the brain is damaged from the stroke, communication patterns between the brain and muscle tissue are interrupted, causing atypical muscle contractions. Muscle tone becomes heightened, contractions cause stiffness and painful muscle spasms, and joints become more difficult to move through full range.

When does spasticity occur after a stroke?

Approximately 25 – 43% of stroke patients experience symptoms of spasticity within the first year. Spasticity can range from mild muscle stiffness to extremely painful muscle spasms in the affected or hemiplegic muscle groups. When left untreated, spasticity can permanently deform and limit the range of motion in the joints, which negatively impacts walking and performing necessary daily tasks.

What can PM&R do for a patient who has incurred a stroke?

PM&R specialists consult with the patient who has experienced a stroke and determine what their personal goals are. Physiatrists can provide intervention plans and medicine to alleviate stroke-related pain, reduce spasticity, increase joint range of motion, and prevent unnecessary muscle atrophy and breakdown.

Does health insurance cover PM&R visits?

At Aether Medicine, we are upfront with every patient about health insurance coverage according to their individual policies and the treatment plans recommended by Dr. Christian. Contact our professional team with any questions or concerns about insurance coverage and out-of-pocket costs so that you can feel financially comfortable with your treatment options.

How to learn more about PM&R and what it can do for stroke

To learn more about what physical medicine and rehabilitation can do for musculoskeletal and neurological disorders, such as spasticity and stroke, contact our team at Aether Medicine and schedule an appointment with Dr. Asare Christian today. We serve patients in Wayne, PA and throughout the surrounding areas and develop treatment plans that help them get back to a high-quality, functional lifestyle.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.