Spasticity as a phenomenon is described as muscle stiffness with increased resistance to passive or active movement. In that context, spasticity represents movement disorder.
It shows up after brain or spinal cord injury which can be caused by a stroke, cerebral palsy, brain or spinal cord trauma, multipla sclerosis.
Predominant school of thought states that cortex, highest part of the brain is too active in sending signals to the spinal cord.
That overstimulation further excites strech–reflex in the muscle and it gets stiff and over-responsive. This is natural mechanism which is well explained in textbooks and widely adopted.
As spasticity is generated after brain or spinal cord injury, dominant tendency is to explain spasticity solely with neural mechanism.
But it is fascinating what breaktrough was made in the last 10 years. It was discovered that behind spasticity is not only neural mechanism.
Contrary to recent beliefs, it is discovered that mechanisms of spasticity generation are in big portion conected to the connective tissue distortion and weakness.
More about those mechanisms in the next part.
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