Are spasticity/ involuntary movement the same thing?

Hi Just curious really following a recent appointment. My right arm and hand do not naturally fully straighten or turn. There is little resistance in movement, they can be almost pulled straight, they just sort of curl back up again. I think my OT called it an involuntary movement but wasn’t sure if that is the same as spasticity? I am just trying to understand my symptoms and was hoping someone could tell me the difference. Thank you Mish x

Hi Mish,

I don’t think spasticity and involuntary movement are the same thing, no. Although I suppose the tightness of spasticity could cause an involuntary movement. But I experience it mostly as stiffness - a resistance to movement. My muscles tend to be very short, tight, and achy. If you touch them, they feel more dense and solid than they should. In fact, at a glance, I look quite muscular, as if I was really fit. But the muscles only look this toned from working all the time when they shouldn’t. Except when I take drugs to ease it, they’re tensed all the time, even when I’m lying in bed, or sitting doing nothing. As a result, they look quite impressive. But it’s a shame looks can be deceiving, because they’re always tired and hurting, and don’t really work properly.

It sounds odd, but increased muscle definition was one of my earliest symptoms. Muscle tone is good, but excessive tone is bad - the muscles haven’t got enough “give” to work properly (even if they do look quite nice).



Hi Mish

I aggree with Tina. I have spasticity in my right calf and quad muscles. They feel like an elastic band and hurt when I try to stretch them. The calf muscle is so tight that I cant dorsoflex my foot well. I also found last winter that when wearing boots the right boot was much tighter as the calf muscle was considerable bigger than the left. The muscles are always working and are therefore tired and the leg just feels much better than the other. I take baclofen but it only takes the edge of it.

Moyna xxx

Hi thanks Tina and Moyna I have always thought it must be spasticity in my arm but was unsure when she mentioned involuntary movement. However thinking about it, maybe she did mean the tightness of the spasticity caused the involuntary movement. My arm and hand do get painful at times but I think gabapentine helps, even if it doesn’t stop it completely. I hadn’t noticed before but back of my bad arm is not as wobbly as my left. A small perk eh? Lol My whole arm is like a stretched elastic band too but weirdly my little finger curls up and does the coolest party trick, you straighten it out and it pings straight back! Very odd. Anyway thanks for your replies : ) Mish x