Long-term modification of spasticity
Anthony B. Ward
Rehabilitation Centre North Staffordshire Hospital Stoke-on-Trent Staffordshire UK
This review of the long-term management of spasticity addresses some of the clinical dilemmas in the management of patients with chronic disability. As it is important for clinicians to have clear objectives in patient treatment, the available treatment strategies are set out. Why is it important to treat spastic patients and what treatment does one use? When should one consider a change in the strategy and why is it necessary to have a clear discharge policy from the service to avoid serious logistic problems? The review reiterates the role of physical treatment in the management and thereafter the maintenance of patients with spasticity. There are now a number of good papers on the use of botulinum toxin in spasticity, but this review sets out their context in clinical management and briefly mentions the use of phenol nerve blockade and intrathecal baclofen in clinical practice. Finally, how does one justify the use of an agent regarded as expensive? It is important to use outcome measures that are valid and sensitive to change, and an example is given of ways of demonstrating benefit.
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