Scientific Review | Published:

Spastic movement disorder

Spinal Cord volume 38, pages 389393 (2000) | Download Citation



This review deals with the neuronal mechanisms underlying spastic movement disorder, assessed by electrophysiological means with the aim of first, a better understanding of the underlying pathophysiology and second, the selection of an adequate treatment. For the patient usually one of the first symptoms of a lesion within the central motor system represents the movement disorder, which is most characteristic during locomotion in patients with spasticity. The clinical examination reveals exaggerated tendon tap reflexes and increased muscle tone typical of the spastic movement disorder. However, today we know that there exists only a weak relationship between the physical signs obtained during the clinical examination in a passive motor condition and the impaired neuronal mechanisms being in operation during an active movement. By the recording and analysis of electrophysiological and biomechanical parameters during a functional movement such as locomotion, the significance of, for example, impaired reflex behaviour or pathophysiology of muscle tone and its contribution to the movement disorder can reliably be assessed. Consequently, an adequate treatment should not be restricted to the cosmetic therapy and correction of an isolated clinical parameter but should be based on the pathophysiology and significance of the mechanisms underlying the disorder of functional movement which impairs the patient.

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  1. Paracare, Paraplegic Centre of the University Hospital Balgrist, Zürich, Switzerland

    • V Dietz


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Correspondence to V Dietz.

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