Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Physical Therapy (MPT)


Physical Therapy

First Advisor

Thomas Mohr


Muscle Spasticity -- therapy


Spasticity is an entity with which physical therapists are quite frequently faced. It is a common phenomenon among individuals who have sustained central nervous system damage. Spasticity is "associated with a wide variety of neurological diagnoses and may have benefits as well as negative qualities. The negative effects can lead to multiple complications which interfere with functions of every day living. Management of spasticity becomes necessary when it ~causes complications or interferes with function. There are several modes of intervention, including conservative physical therapy approaches and/or medical approaches.

The purpose of this independent study is to review two medical methods of intervention: pharmacological treatment and dorsal rhizotomy. Pharmacological treatments include medications or local injections of various agents. These treatments only provide temporary relief unless they are conlLnued and/or repeated. Although pharmacological treatments have been found to be effective to reduce spasticity, they may have unwanted side effects. Dorsal rhizotomies have been successful for reducing spasticity in appropriate candidates. The effects of this treatment are permanent and irreversible. Side effects are often temporary, such as sensory loss or muscle weakness, and there are risks related to surgery and anaesthesia.