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Thread: Spasms

  1. #1


    My son has a T4 complete injury due to spinal surgery 6 weeks ago. He is currently in a rehab facility. Tonight after his shower I was moisturizing his feet and everytime I touched him his foot jerked or his toes wiggled. These were not voluntary movements but were obviously caused by me touching him.

    Are these spasms and what do they mean?

  2. #2
    Doesn't sound like spasms.

    Seems like more of an involuntary reflex.

    Your son's injury is still very, very new so it's hard to say what if anything it means.

    Are they certain it was a complete injury? Seems that many people (my son included) are initially labeled complete when they are acutally incomplete.

    Does he have any movement or sensation below the level of injury?

    How old is he?

    There are a lot of good articles by Wise Young on the carecure homepage (I think they are in the left column still).

    Are you holding up OK? I know how hard it is for the parents as well as the patients.

    Take care.
    Ugh, I've been kissed by a dog!
    Get some hot water, get some iodine ...
    -- Lucy VanPelt

  3. #3
    If you mean that his toes flexed or extended (not voluntary "wiggling") then yes, it sounds like spasticity and spasm. This is because his is most likely coming out of spinal shock. I would also expect that he is now having some reflex erections and that his bladder and bowel functioning may also be changing due to spinal shock subsiding.

    This would be a good time for him to have another ASIA exam as once spinal shock subsides you can more accurately detect any sparing and determine the true current ASIA category of the injury.

    Spasticity is not all bad. It helps maintain muscle bulk, increases circulation (decreasing DVT risk), and helps to act as a warning sign that something is wrong if it increases suddenly. Some people can learn to trigger it in ways that aid functional activities such as dressing and transfers. Only if it becomes noxious spasticity, and starts to interfere with function, safety or hygiene should medications be considered for control. Spasticity is often best managed by daily stretching and ROM exercises, standing, and laying on the stomach (proning) at least part of each day.


  4. #4
    I remember the days my family, friends & I thought or hoped it meant something. I actually looked forward to jumping around when touched. I hate it now as I know they're just painful, annoying spasms.

  5. #5
    Senior Member drew82586's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
    yea mine is just a reflex to being touched. my nephews love it.
    I have more to claim.
    I have to fight through the hard places
    to go and get it!

    most recent video:

  6. #6
    Sorry your son has a SCI and had to have surgery. How is he doing other than the spasms?
    I agree with KLD regarding spinal shock.

    My spasms and spasticity changed over the years, from initial spinal shock symptoms to evoked on light touch or stretching over time. Spasms have their good side and bad side. The good is spasms can work out muscles without working out and can transfer and sometimes stand due to spasms, but the bad side is when the spasms stop, one can fall, can be very painful and very disruptive to sleep, ADL's (activities of daily living), etc. I am sure this can be challenging. Good luck :-)
    Last edited by med100; 01-30-2010 at 10:30 AM.

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