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About Brain Injury


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What is Spasticity?

Spasticity is abnormal muscle tightness due to prolonged muscle contraction. It is a symptom associated with damage to the brain, spinal cord, or motor nerves and is seen in individuals with neurological conditions.

What Causes Spasticity?

Spasticity is caused by damage to parts of the brain or spinal cord that control movement. It causes muscles to be uncontrollably tight or stiff. Spasticity can occur when the nerve cells that carry messages from your brain to different parts of your body are damaged. When this happens, the affected muscles in your limbs may receive the wrong signals. This can cause your muscles to contract or tense up, leading to stiffness and tightness. Spasticity can be painful. It can also interfere with movement and your ability to perform simple tasks.

Signs of Spasticity

Be sure to tell your doctor about any and all symptoms you’ve been having, including:

  • Muscle stiffness
  • Pain
  • Difficulty doing activities you were able to do before

How is Spasticity Managed?

There are several different options that can help manage spasticity:

  • Baclofen pump
  • Occupational or physical therapy
  • Oral medicines
  • Botulinum toxin medicines
  • Surgery on nerves near the spinal cord
  • Splints or casts for arms and legs

It is important to work with your doctor as more than one management option may be necessary. 

If you need personalized support or resources, contact the Brain Injury Association of America’s National Brain Injury Information Center at 1-800-444-6443 or email us at

The information on this page is made possible with the support of Ipsen Biopharmaceuticals.