How To Manage Spasticity After A Spinal Cord Injury

Spasticity is a common complication of spinal cord injury characterised by muscle stiffness and involuntary muscle spasms.

Learning how to manage the symptoms of spinal cord injury is essential. Click to learn more about how we can support you.

This can make it difficult for people with spinal cord injuries to move, control their muscles, or perform daily activities.

The symptoms of spasticity vary from person to person and change over time, so it’s crucial to work closely with healthcare professionals to develop a personal management plan that can support the individual living with spinal cord injury throughout the recovery process.

In this article, we highlight how you can manage spasticity after spinal cord injury to best support recovery.

Physical therapy

Physical therapy is essential when managing spasticity after a spinal cord injury. A physical therapist can help you improve your strength, flexibility, and range of motion, which can help reduce spasticity. They can also teach you exercises that can help reduce muscle spasms, improve your posture and balance, and increase your ability to perform daily activities.


Medication can help manage spasticity and is often split into two main categories: antispasticity drugs and muscle relaxants. Antispasticity drugs, such as baclofen, tizanidine and diazepam, reduce the activity of the spinal reflexes, decreasing muscle spasticity. They can be used alone or in combination with other medications to help manage spasticity. Some side effects of these drugs include drowsiness, dizziness, and dry mouth.

Assistive devices

Assistive devices such as splints and braces can also be used to help manage spasticity. These devices can help hold the affected limb in a certain position, which can help reduce muscle spasms and improve control. They also help improve posture and prevent contracture of muscle which can lead to permanent muscle stiffness.


In some cases, surgery may be an option to help manage spasticity. A surgical procedure called selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR) can be used to reduce spasticity in people with spinal cord injuries. The procedure involves cutting some of the sensory nerves in the spinal cord that are responsible for spasticity. It’s important to note that SDR is not suitable for everyone, and the decision to have surgery should be made with the help of a qualified neurosurgeon and rehabilitation specialist.

Moving forward

Managing spasticity after a spinal cord injury can be a complex and ongoing process. It’s important to work closely with healthcare professionals to develop an individual management plan that takes into account your specific symptoms and needs. This may include physical therapy, medications, assistive devices, and in some cases, surgery. By taking a multidisciplinary approach, it’s possible to reduce the impact of spasticity on your daily life and improve your ability to perform daily activities.

Get in touch with us today to learn more about how we can support you on your journey to helping your symptoms of spinal cord injury, accessing better rehabilitation services and the compensation you deserve.