Many people with MS experience spasticity, or muscle stiffness and spasms. It usually affects the muscles of the legs and arms, and may interfere with the ability to move those muscles freely.
Spasticity can occur either as a sustained stiffness caused by increased muscle tone or as spasms that come and go, especially at night. It can feel like a muscle tightening or it can cause severe pain. Spasticity can also produce feelings of pain or tightness in and around joints and can cause low back pain. The intensity may vary depending on your position, posture, and state of relaxation.
What Causes Spasticity?
Spasticity is the result of an imbalance in the electrical signals coming from the brain and spinal cord, often caused by damage to these areas from by MS. This imbalance causes hyperactive muscle stretch reflexes, which result in involuntary contractions of the muscle, and increased muscle tension.
What Triggers Spasticity?
Spasticity may be aggravated by extremes of temperature, humidity, or infections. It can even be triggered by tight clothing.