Treatments available include medical and surgical options, and often include physical and occupational therapy options as well.
Medical treatment options:
Oral muscle relaxants such as baclofen, valium and dantrolene are used most commonly. While these medications are often modestly effective at controlling spasticity, they can cause sleepiness at higher doses.
Surgical treatment options:
Botulinum Toxin InjectionsInjections of botulinum toxin (Botox) can also relieve spasticity in muscles for several months at a time. Botulinum is a toxin that is produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. It is injected into specific muscles to reduce spasticity by weakening the muscles. These injections are most effective in those patients who have very specific areas that require treatment. It takes several weeks for the effect to become fully visible and it usually lasts several months. The injections may be repeated. However, Botox may become less effective over time if patients develop antibodies to the toxin.
Intrathecal Baclofen InfusionPatients with extensive spasticity from spinal cord injury, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis or brain injury often benefit from intrathecal baclofen infusion. This therapy utilizes pumps and implanted catheters to continuously send medication into the spinal fluid enabling the patient to receive a significantly enhanced effect from the medication at a much lower dose and without the usual side effects like drowsiness.
At Northwestern Memorial Hospital, we partner with the physicians at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago in conducting one of the most active programs for intrathecal baclofen infusion in the Midwest. We evaluate and successfully treat many patients with spasticity from cerebral palsy, brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis and stroke every year with intrathecal baclofen.
The Functional Neurosurgery Program ( Campus Map )
675 N. St. Clair Street, Suite 20-100
Chicago, IL 60611