Characterizing the Experience of Spasticity after Spinal Cord Injury

Study Description


This collaborative research project among six Spinal Cord Injury Model Systems used an online survey to characterize the qualities that people with spinal cord injury (SCI) associate with their experience of spasticity, how spasticity impacts their quality of life and how they perceive and value different spasticity management approaches.

Spasticity is the uncontrolled tightening or contracting of the muscles, and is common in people with SCI. Approximately 65% to 75% of people with SCOI have some amount of spasticity. Spasticity is more common in cervical (neck) than thoracic (chest) and lumbar (lower back) injuries.

Researchers characterized the various problematic manifestations of spasticity (e.g., spasms when at rest, spasms evoked by movement, clonus, stiffness, sleep disturbance, discomfort, pain); the beneficial effects of spasticity (e.g., assistance with transfers, standing, positioning, walking, etc.) and the preferred management strategies (e.g., physical therapeutics, oral pharmaceuticals, intrathecal baclofen, nerve blockades, etc.).

A paper in the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation titled Characterizing the Experience of Spasticity after Spinal Cord Injury: A National Survey Project of the Spinal Cord Injury Model Systems Centers, includes results from the survey. 

Edelle Field-Foote, PT, PhD, Director, Spinal Cord Injury Research at the Shepherd Center; Professor of Biological Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology; and Professor of Rehabilitation Medicine at Emory University, is the principal investigator on this research project. 

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