Spasticity care at Norton Children’s

Norton Children’s board-certified neurosurgeons are led by Thomas M. Moriarity, M.D., Ph.D., a recognized leader in the field with deep experience and specialized training.

Our physicians have the sophisticated tools and skill to give you and your child a precise diagnosis and a treatment plan for spasticity that minimizes risk, so your child can get back to being a kid.

Spasticity refers to a muscle control disorder that involves tight or stiff muscles that can’t be controlled.

Understanding spasticity

Our bodies are able to stay upright and move because of a complex system that contracts some muscles and relaxes other muscles simultaneously. When this system is disrupted, muscles can begin to tighten involuntarily and out of sync with the rest of the body. We call this spasticity.

Spasticity affects nearly 80 percent of people with cerebral palsy. It can prevent normal muscle movement and make it harder for your child’s bones and muscles to grow. Some children may experience issues with their posture. Spasticity can lead to other conditions such as contractures, joint deformity and scoliosis, among others.

Surgical treatment options for spasticity

  • Oral baclofen is a medication that helps relax certain muscles in the body. High doses of oral baclofen can relieve spasms, cramps and tightness in muscles. Your health care provider may recommend surgically inserting an intrathecal baclofen pump. Placed in the abdomen, this pump sends baclofen directly to the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord, which means lower doses are required. That can help minimize side effects on your child.
  • Spasticity in the lower half of the body may be treated through dorsal rhizotomy. A neurosurgeon cuts the dorsal roots of spinal nerves as they leave the spinal column. This helps disrupt the pathways carrying the spastic messages back and forth to your child’s legs. The surgery can help improve your child’s ability to sit, increase the range of motion in the knees and ease movement. This surgery has little to no effect on the upper half of the body.

Nonsurgical treatments for spasticity

Neurosurgery isn’t the default option for treating spasticity, but it may be the best option for your child. Our care team at Norton Children’s Hospital can help you determine what treatment options can provide the most relief and best outcome for your child.

Neuroscience

Contact Us

Connect to the Norton Children’s Hospital Neurology team
(502) 588-3650

Connect with Norton Children’s Neurosurgery team
(502) 583-1697

Helping girls with self-esteem

Remember that little girl who bounded through the day wearing a bathing suit, a glitter-frosted tutu, a superhero cape, a fire chief helmet and rain boots— all at the same time? Has your brave young […]

Read Full Story

Coming out: How family can support an LGBTQ child

Coming out is not a one-time event for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning and intersex children and teens. It’s a journey of understanding, acknowledging and sharing one’s sexual orientation and/or gender identity with others. It […]

Read Full Story

Safe sleep practices can help prevent SIDS

It’s a startling fact, but one that parents, family members and caregivers need to be aware of: Nearly 3,600 babies die each year in the U.S. due to sudden unexpected infant death (SUID), defined as […]

Read Full Story

What you need to know about eating disorders in children

For parents, a child’s eating habits can be a concern from infancy through the teen years and even adulthood. From the picky toddler who will eat only a specific food for days on end, to […]

Read Full Story

World Health Organization identifies gaming as a diagnosable mental health condition

Jay spent the start of summer glued to his Xbox. When his mom brought him to Healthy Living Workshops, a wellness series sponsored by Kohl’s Cares and held by Norton Children’s Prevention & Wellness at […]

Read Full Story

Search our entire site.