Baclofen and other spasticity control options

Spasticity control is a treatment plan to help improve day-to-day comfort and movement. Your health care provider may recommend various combinations of the following treatments to control spasticity.
Oral baclofen is a medication that can help relax certain muscles in the body. It can help relieve spasms, cramps and tightness in muscles. As a treatment for spasticity, health care providers need to give very high doses of the oral baclofen to get the desired effect.

Intrathecal baclofen pump

Rather than high doses of oral baclofen, your health care provider may recommend surgically inserting a medication pump into the abdomen. The pump sends medication directly to the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord. This allows your child to have a lower dose of baclofen, which can help minimize side effects.

Dorsal rhizotomy

This surgery is an option to treat spasticity in the lower half of the body and is completed by a neurosurgeon. The surgeon 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 has little to no effect on the upper half of the body. The surgery can help improve your child’s ability to sit, increase the range of motion in the knees and ease movement.

Other treatments

Botulinum toxin or alcohol injections

Injections into select muscles that are causing problems can help improve spasticity in those muscles. Neighboring muscles are affected slightly, if at all. If prolonged positioning and spasticity has resulted in a fixed-joint contracture, there won’t be a significant improvement in motion.


If used, a cast usually would be in place for one week only to help improve the contractures. Some casting would be highly recommended to increase the effect of the botulinum toxin injections.

Change in medication

This may involve adding a medication such as Valium. Valium would be best provided by a neurologist.

Our team

Jennifer M. Brey, M.D.
Jennifer M. Brey, M.D.
Laura K. Jacks, M.D.
Star L. Nixon, M.D.
Kent L. Walker, D.O.
Sarah DuPlessis, PA-C
Andrea E. Ryan, PA-C PA-C

Developmental-behavioral pediatrics and Genetics – 5347

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