Spasticity results from increased muscle tone as a result of demyelination in the CNS. It is a state whereby the muscles remain contracted and resist passive movement when induced by an external force — such as your doctor pushing against your hands. Spasticity is most common in the legs and may be associated with underlying weakness in the muscles, which can cause problems with walking. Spasticity is treated with medication, stretching, and education. Your doctor may also check to see if there is an underlying condition that may be triggering it, such as a urinary tract infection or bowel distention.
There are several drugs in your doctor's arsenal that can help, including Lioresal (baclofen) and Zanaflex (tizanidine). Other drugs that may be helpful include Neurontin (gabapentin) and Klonopin (clonazepam). Stretching exercises and learning the correct positions for lying and sitting can have value as well. A physical therapist is an important resource for nonmedication therapies for spasticity. More aggressive therapies for spasticity include injections of Botox (botulinum toxin) into stiff muscles or insertion of tubing into the spinal canal to deliver baclofen directly to the nerves (intrathecal baclofen pump).