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Thread: Tone

  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Taylor, Mi


    I am 9 months post T6 complete. I have a lot of tone. I spend a lot of my time moving my legs only to have the tone kick in and move them where they want. I also have controllable spastisity. Are these good things? What causes tone? I ask my therapist...and they say don't worry aboout it.

  2. #2
    Very simplisticly, spasticity and spasms are caused by interruption of the nerve fibers from your brain that normally decrease spinal reflex activity in your muscles. Below the level of your injury, the reflexes still occur, but your brain cannot tell them not to do this as it does with an intact spinal cord. You will not have spasticity where your lower motor neuron is damaged (where the nerve exits the cord at your actual injury level), so many people with either infarction injuries or very low injuries may not have excessive tone or spasms at all.

    Actually, tone does not usually move your legs...this is spasms. Spasticity is the increased tone (tightness) of the muscles that makes it difficult to range or position your legs or other body parts.

    Are you taking any medications for your spasticity (Baclofen, Zanaflex, etc.)? Some increased tone and spasms are good, as they help maintain muscle bulk, provide some protection from skin breakdown, decrease your risks for DVT, and, when suddenly increased, provide a clue that something is wrong (UTI, fracture, bowel impaction, etc.).

    Spasticity that starts to interfere with function (positioning, walking, ADLs) or safety (causing falls, etc.), hygiene (making it difficult to keep clean, interfering with bowel or bladder care) or sexual activity may be considered noxious spasticity, and should be considered for treatment. The first line treatment is modalities including regular stretching (ROM exercises), proning (laying on your stomach) and standing regularly. If these do not work, then medications may be needed. This can include oral medications or an implanted intrathecal Baclofen pump.


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