Spasticity

I joined this forum in 2014 and I was aware to a few medical terms I hadn't heard of before.

One of those terms, that came from angelite, was 'spasticity' because she has it. I had an idea what spasticity was but did not really know completely... Until now.

My brain injury occurred in 1996. For years I have had to put up with balance problems when walking. For 20 years, I had been walking around unaided all the time and in 2015 I went to Devon on holiday. I found some driftwood when I was there and I found it helped with my balance, so I adopted it for the rest of my stay. Once I got back home I was then using a fully fashioned walking stick/cane that actually used to belong to one of my great aunties. I had never met this great aunty of mine and if I did I was very young at the time. So I feel kind of honoured to be using her old cane :).

Anyhow, the cane does help me with my walking a lot and I remember saying to my parents that the muscles in my left leg sort of felt like they were worn out after years of trying to keep balance, I guess, as it kind of felt like I was dragging my leg at times. But thinking about it more it feels as if the muscles in the left leg can be tight making me slow at walking.

I looked into this more on the internet (as the internet holds a wealth of information, It may also hold a lot of dis-info but then again so do newspapers) and to see the natural alternatives that could help, as I don't believe man-made medication is any good.

I have now come to the conclusion that I have spasticity and I can use essential oils to ease the muscles.

20 Replies

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  • anything that helps, must be worth trying. No harm in using a stick either, if it helps your mobility. Go for it!

  • I got my brain injury in 1996 as well. You should try intense stretching of the muscles in your feet- that may possibly help... I bought a book Anatomy of Stretching and it is helping my back pain and overall strength.

  • I noticed on your profile that you had your injury in 96 as well :).

    Intense stretching, interesting. I do a little stretching as well. A stretch that I picked up from physiotherapy I had years ago and another stretch that I picked up from Yoga... That's correct, I now practice a little Yoga :). These stretches I do mainly stretch the muscles in my legs but I didn't think about stretching my feet. I'll have to look into it. Thanks for letting me know :).

  • I never thought to stretch my feet- only stretched parts above the knee ha! The book I got is written by an ex-dancer and he stresses the importance of strong ankle, foot and calf muscles. Makes sense really when you think about it. 'assisted foot stretching' (using your hands) is the way forward I think :)

  • I didn't think too much about stretches in my feet years ago really but I have a bit of spasticity in my left foot as well and when I do my Yoga exercises I do stretch my foot now. I've only been doing the stretching for a few weeks now. I have my toes bent under my foot so I get a stretch across the top of my foot.

  • I did pilates classes a few years ago and that is basically stretching, although the focus is on your 'core'- personally I find the stretching easier!

  • Ah pilates, I might have to look further into them. It is almost the same spelling as 'pirates' but they are pronounced differently.

    If I made an exercise video based somewhere in the Carribean I would call it "Pilates of the Carribean" :).

  • Hey Matt. My lad had spasticity in several places on his body (some worse than others) and the doctors injected the affected areas with Botox. It seemed a slightly bizarre solution at the time, however the results were brilliant and allowed these areas to relax enough to show marked improvements. Looking back I now realise that because the body was relaxed he was able to use his hands, arms, feet etc again, therefore allowing the natural stretching movements to take place. He now has very little spasticity left apart from having a slight bend in a couple of fingers. So carry on with your exercises; mobility and flexibility are really important and anything that can be done to maintain that can only be good for all of us. Take care. Victoria

  • Hi Victoria,

    When I was reading up on the internet about spaticity and gow to treat it naturally, I did briefly see something about having botox injections. The only thing though is that it's not a natural treatment but I shall definitely look more into stretching. Glad to hear it helped your lad :).

  • Re helping withyour balance, I had a pair of glasses I used for driving, just the first, lowest notch on the long distance, and I found if I wore them when walking, my foot fall was much firmer, the invisible string that always seemed to pull me to the left, disappeared. They don't help round the house, I don't seem to need them there, its outside in wide open spaces. I might try your walking stick aid. On, on, everyone, never give up, try anything and everything xx

  • I did actually try out a walking stick years ago when I was a teen and also when my balance was worse and I found that a walking stick did no good at the time.

    I think the main problem was that I was putting too much of my body weight onto the stick that the stick would be moving from side to side a lot and not offer much support.

    I still can get that problem but I try not to put so much weight on the stick.

  • Hi Trudi,

    Sometimes, with balance issues we tend to naturally 'furniture surf' at home - steadying ourselves with hands on surfaces or using a shoulder against a wall/doorframe without even being aware of it ! When faced with the great outdoors or open spaces with no handholds or walls to rebound off we realise just how much we have been compensating ! I normally use a lightweight stick outdoors to prevent my right hand stagger. At the mo ( I had a relapse - suspected MS ) I'm using a sturdier one inside and out as it needs to hold my 'spaghetti' leg up too ! If it is just a balance issue with no weakness, a lightweight stick would probably suffice - you can get the metal, foldable type in all kinds of cool patterns : ) Angela x

  • Hi Matt. Nice to 'see' you again. I too find a stick helps when my leg muscles go into spasm, and yoga efinitely helps with the stretching out of rigid legs. My legs have gone again since just before Christmas after 5 months of being ok - bit of a pain. I use a lavender scented wheat bag to relax them.

  • Hi Mal,

    Nice to 'see' you too :).

    A lavendar scented wheat bag. I haven't heard of that one, I'll read up about it. Sounds interesting though.

    Thanks for that :).

    Take care,

    MJ

  • Sorry about your legs, Mal - mine have been on vacation too but trickling back a bit now : ) I might have asked this before - forgive me if I have but have you ever had a spinal MRI ? x

  • Hi Angela Yes I got them to do one in September - they were doing the head anyway to check the flow diverter and I'd lost my legs for a week in August so asked them to chuck me in the scanner for the whole lot. Last full scan I had had done was in 2011 and I was told that was clear only for Sheffield to spot the aneurysm when they reviewed them in 2014...I wanted to be sure nothing else had been missed. But all is ckear except for 'wear and tear', apparently. And my non-ME like relapses are still a mystery...

  • From what I've read on a few sites, spinal lesions often do not show up as well as brain lesions on an MRI.

    healthcentral.com/multiple-...

    Perhaps wear and tear, if it causes localised inflammation from time to time, could have this effect ? ? ? Still awaiting results from my neck/ C spine scan - 3 months now ! x

  • Hiya Matt : )

    I thought my ears were burning : )) ( the little red bell at page top told me I had been mentioned ! ) I wonder when you last saw a physiotherapist ?

    Having had balance problems for most of your life, you have been compensating for a long time. This alone could put strain on certain muscles and joints and effect them over time. if you have some spasticity as well then double whammy ! I'm glad you have got comfortable using a stick and are finding it helpful. I seem to remember you had an issue with fallen arches ? This too will affect your balance, style of walking and strain on other areas. I think you had bought your own insoles to help with arches but maybe a referral to orthotics to have some custom made ones might help ? Stretching is very important with spasticity. Again, a physiotherapist could help and hopefully give you printed exercises to take home.

    I know that Sem suffers greatly with spasticity and Mal a la tete has some too. It is a common problem in MS but can be the the result of any brain or spine injury too. Resting to relieve the pain, tightness and muscle fatigue between use helps to restore some power in my legs.

    Angela x

  • I have found a good websit that explains spasticity and treatments in an easily understandable way. It is an Ms site but can be applied to anyone suffering this problem from any type of brain or spine injury : ) x

    mssociety.ca/qc/Documentati...

  • Hi Angela,

    You are not wrong, your ears were burning and I think they must have set the little bell on fire :).

    The last time I saw a physiotherapist was probably sometime in mid 2000s I think. Probably 2004 or 05. I did have a physio before that as well in the late 90s, around 98 and 99. But at that time I had just started going to college in 2000 and was continuing some pgysio at the college. I left college early, as I was being pressured with work, and my physio ended around 2001. I was then left to carry on with some exercises at home. I still have some of my workout sheets with the exercises on them and I try to do some of them at times.

    Yes, I have been compensating for a long time and that was mainly the fact that no information was really given to us. I had my operations on my head and I was basically sent home to carry on with life as normal. I did have an OT come to the house a few times and as I was only a teen back then, it was my mum that was sorting all that out. I don't think an OT helped much because from what I remember, they didn't have much affect on me.

    That is how I described my leg muscles to my parents when I started using the stick, it was as if where I had been walking around for years with no aid, except a parent if needed, it's like the muscles in my left leg had worn out cos I do feel like I am dragging it sometimes and I can stumble on my left leg where it might feel tired and not lift high enough? After my first operations in 1996, I was told by the doctors that I had a slight right sided paralysis. Muscles are weak in the right side of my face, my right eye has permenently turned inward, I cannot naturally press my lips together. My writing hand is my right hand, typically, and therefore my writing can be a difficulty, it has got a little worse over the years because of further operations on my head. But aside from the right side paralysis, my left leg was fine, I had no spasticity but only really noticed it one or two years ago.

    That's right I do have fallen arches.mi was diagnosed with flat foot in both feet, I think it was both. It's worse in the left foot though. The foot that is connected to the spastic leg. And I do think I have a bit of spasticity across the top of my left foot so I stretch that area as well at times. I did start off by getting my own insoles and they did some good but not much. I looked into it further and now where orthotics in both shoes. If I have a spell where I was not wearing the orthotics in my shoes so much, like over the christmas period for instance, and I was wearing my warm but quite floppy and loose slippers, the overpronounced arches can sag more bringing along pain. So what I do to battle that is to where my shoes more around the house. I do have orthotics in my slippers as well as my shoes but like I say, I don't get much support that way.

    I am doing a lot more stretches now to battle the spasticity and I am practising more Yoga as well.

    When I was reading up on spasticity I did read how it can affect people with MS and it also mentioned spinal cord injuries and neuro disorders/damage. Thanks for the link though, I shall look into that :).

    Take care,

    MJ

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