Spasticity or Increase muscle tone is very commonly encountered in Pediatric Neurology practice. In simple terms Spacticity means increased muscle tone which causes resistance to any external movement. Spasticity is also commonly mentioned as a "dynamic increase in muscle tone" by the experienced physiotherapists. The most common cause of spasticity in children is Cerebral palsy, usually caused by antenatal or perinatal insult to the developing brain.
If spasticity is caused by Cerebral palsy, the underlying brain problem which is static(does not change with time), however the spasticity may get worse with time. It is therefore important to "remain ahead in the game" by managing spasticity at the earliest. The most common treatment of spasticity is Physiotherapy. An experienced pediatric physiotherapist will assess your child and formulate a therapy program depending on the severity of the spasticity.
The Pediatric Neurologist mat choose to start the child on a muscle relaxant, usually Baclofen, which is given orally and in severe cases Baclofen can also be given via an implantable device known as "Baclofen Pump".
If medical management fails, children may also need tendon lengthening surgeries in the hands of expert pediatric orthopedic surgeons. In some selective cases a novel procedure called "Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy" is carried out to relieve spasticity. This is usually done in a Tertiary or Quaternary Pediatric Center.
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