Spasticity Team Center

The Spasticity center was created to provide comprehensive evaluation and treatment of those patients who suffer from the difficulties of chronic spasticity. Using a truly multidisciplinary approach to spasticity management, the team of fellowship-trained pediatric subspecialists at the Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children strives to optimize the functional abilities of each individual child.

What is Spasticity?

Spasticity, also called hypertonicity, causes increased tone in the muscles and stiffness or tightness. As a result, patients with spasticity have difficulty using the affected muscles in a controlled or functional way. Spasticity can be localized to one part of the body or a few muscles, or it can be generalized even affecting speech and swallowing. Sometimes there is an additional component called dystonia which causes abnormal postures or twisting of the affected muscles.

Some of the common causes of spasticity are:

• Cerebral Palsy
• Brain Injury
• Spinal Cord Injury
• Multiple Sclerosis
• Stroke
• Meningitis
• Encephalitis

How can spasticity affect a child or patient:

In some patients spasticity can actually help with standing or walking just by increasing the tone of an otherwise weak muscle. Too much spasticity, however, can restrict the voluntary use of a muscle and limit functional movement. In some patients something as simple as walking becomes difficult because the increased tone causes the legs not to bend or move the way the patient wants them too. In others, the contraction of the muscle is so severe and so constant that it causes the joints to become rigid or fixed in one place. Over time this can cause many complications, Left untreated, spasticity can cause severe orthopedic deformity, hip dislocations, skin breakdown, weight loss, depression, and chronic pain. Fortunately, there are many treatment options which can help.

Our Team

The Spasticity Center at the Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children includes Pediatric trained specialists from:
• Pediatric Neurology
• Pediatric Neurosurgery
• Pediatric Orthopedics
• Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine
• Physical Therapy/ Occupational Therapy

Our goal is to establish the unique functional abilities, disabilities, and goals of each patient. Each child will be seen individually by the above specialists in order to obtain different evaluations and perspectives. As each discipline tends to look at a different aspect of the evaluation and management, these separate opinions will help guide a multidisciplinary and individualized treatment plan. Additionally, we have specialists available from Pediatric Urology, Plastic Surgery, Social Work and most other pediatric subspecialties should the need arise for other consultations.

Treatment Options

The treatment of spasticity typically involves multiple options and is largely guided by the functional goals of the patient and the family. Treatment options include:

• Physical Therapy
• Occupational Therapy
• Oral Medications
• Use of splints, casts, or braces
• Tendon releases/ tenotomy
• Osteotomies
• Intramuscular Botulinum toxin
• Intrathecal Baclofen
• Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy

Once a plan of treatment has been established we will provide you and your primary care physician with a summary and assist with scheduling of any therapies or treatments that are recommended.

If you are from outside our geographic area and feel that your child may benefit from a team approach to management, we would welcome you to send the most recent notes from your therapists and any treating physicians as well as a 5-10 minute video of your child. The video should show the child sitting, standing, and/or walking from the front, side and back. The summary and video can be sent to the clinic address below

To schedule an appointment with the Spasticity Center at the Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children please call Kristie at (303) 832-2449.

The Center is located at the Professional Plaza West at Presbyterian/St. Lukes Medical Center at 1601 E. 19th Ave, Suite 4600, Denver, CO 80401.