Spasticity

Early on in my journey of living with relapsing-remitting MS, I suffered from frequent periods of severe spasticity. Spasticity is a relatively common MS symptom.

MS spasms are characterized by a sudden stiffening of a muscle. They can also cause a limb to suddenly jerk out, or towards, your body. Such spasms cause your muscles to feel stiff, heavy, and unable to move.

During my first decade of living with MS, I especially experienced MS spasms in my lower extremities. My thigh and calf muscles frequently would develop uncontrollable spasms.

This often occurred, without warning, when I was walking. The spasms caused my legs to uncontrollably flail outward. Of course, my gait was severely unsteady as a result.

I was also an extremely high fall risk, though under age 40. The majority of the time, my spasms were excruciatingly painful. Think of the worse Charley horse that you ever experienced. Imagine that discomfort lasting, with no relief possible. That’s what it’s like to experience severe MS spasticity. Sometimes, the muscles in my feet were the ones most affected by spasticity.

I remember literally crying as my toes curled uncontrollably downward, locked tight in position. Sometimes, such episodes of spasticity would last for a period of several minutes. Since my spasticity was occurring on a regular basis, my neurologist chose to prescribe medication for it.

I remember having been prescribed Baclofen, as well as Zanaflex, to treat my MS spasticity. They were moderately effective medications, but not without side effects.

Currently, my spasticity is relatively mild. My current neurologist prescribes Neurontin, three times per day, to manage this symptom. This effectively manages my spasticity preventatively. As a result, when I do experience MS spasticity, it is relatively milder in intensity, as well as shorter in duration.

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