How is spasticity diagnosed and who do you get the diagnosis from?

Diagnosis of spasticity is mainly based on clinical evaluation that should include:

  • Clinical history
  • Physical examination
  • evaluation of stretch reflexes (e.g., deep tendon reflexes, involuntary muscle contractions provoked by stretching the muscle with a tap on the tendon that connects the muscle to a bone)
  • passive and active motion
  • Function, e.g., toileting, eating, sleeping, dressing, sitting, standing, and walking

A proper assessment of the individual’s clinical and neurological status is critical in developing an effective treatment plan with achievable goals.

Spasticity is diagnosed if the patient shows an increased resistance to passive movements that increases with speed and typical positioning of the limbs, due to increased muscle tone. The diagnosis is not complicated for rehabilitation specialists but unfortunately a lot of other specialists/HCP are not trained and thus don’t recognized the symptoms or when they do so, don’t see the potential benefit of an adapted treatment.