Spasticity describes muscle contraction that occurs as a result of miscommunication between the muscles and the brain. Columbia’s neurosurgeons are experts in treating the stiffness, pain, involuntary movement and other symptoms that may characterize spasticity.
Under ordinary circumstances, the brain directs muscle movement partially on the basis of information it obtains from the muscles themselves. Sensory neurons in the muscles help provide data about what sort of movement is necessary, and the brain instructs the motor neurons to move the muscles accordingly. Together, the brain and the muscles’ neurons continuously make fine adjustments to account for the requirements of any activity. When this communication breaks down, as it does in the case of spasticity, muscles may contract much more than necessary.
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