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12 Spasticity Triggers that Can Worsen Your Condition


12 Spasticity Triggers that Can Worsen Your Condition

If you use medical equipment like a wheelchair, orthotics, or braces due to multiple sclerosis, stroke, or an injury, it’s a good idea to check to make they still fit well and don’t look too worn down. If they do, they may be more likely to cause skin irritation and breakdown that triggers your spasticity.


Whether it’s muscle fatigue or generally feeling wiped out, that so-tired-you-can’t-lift-your-head feeling can play a factor in spasticity. Fatigue is also closely connected with stress and illness, two other factors that can increase your spasticity risks, according to a 2013 study published in the American Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.4 While we don’t know exactly why fatigue can trigger spasticity for some people, one 2015 study published in Physiotherapy Canada theorized that people may perceive the increased muscle stiffness from fatigue as a worsening of spasticity symptoms.4

Stress and anxiety

Speaking of stress, emotional stress, anxiety, depression, or overall changes in your mental health have a close connection to your physical health. If you have a sudden spike in your stress levels (say, your in-laws decide to stop by unannounced), this could be a trigger for your spasticity, possibly due to the increased muscle tension associated with high-stress situations.

Fractured bones

If you have a spinal cord injury or other condition that affects your ability to sense your extremities, a fracture (broken bone) can happen without you knowing it. An event as simple as hitting your foot against a door could lead to an undetected injury, Dr. Cabahug explains, which can then trigger spasticity. Again, any kind of irritation or change to the body can trigger spasms.

Relapse or worsening of an underlying condition

Sometimes increased spasticity can be a side effect from a condition progressing. For example, if you have MS and go through a period where your symptoms come back or become more intense, spasticity can flare, too. Spasticity can also become more pronounced after a recurrence, such as having another stroke.

Pregnancy-related changes

As if pregnancy doesn’t come with…

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