Spasticity after a stroke: Improve your recovery

A common side effect for almost a third of all stroke survivors is spasticity. This is when the muscles become tight, stiff and resist stretching.

Post-stroke spasticity (PSS) occurs when the portion of the brain that controls the movements of certain muscles becomes damaged because of a stroke. While the effects can be debilitating, early detection combined with appropriate treatment measures can improve strength and help prevent long-term disability.

Here are some tips for improving recovery after a stroke when affected by PSS:
Aim for increased and consistent movement
Moving as much as possible is crucial for PSS patients to ease the tightening of muscles and prevent them from shortening. Regular stretching using a wide range of motion is recommended, as is physical exercise for patients who can do so.

Get outfitted for muscle support
Braces or splints are often used to combat muscle contractures as they work to hold the muscles in place. Contractures are the chronic loss of joint mobility, making it difficult to do even the most menial of tasks like opening or closing your hand.

Develop a rehabilitation routine
Physical therapy is often recommended to regain function or movement of the affected muscles. While some patients may be able to manage this therapy on their own, in certain cases a rehabilitation specialist may be required for optimal recovery.

Explore all treatment options available
Along with the above measures, some patients may require further medical intervention to manage their symptoms or improve mobility. Fortunately, those living with PSS have a range of treatment options they can pursue to manage their condition and any symptoms they have.

Learn more about post-stroke spasticity at