- Posted on: Aug 12 2020
Hypertonia, or increased muscle tone, is muscle overactivity that occurs when communication of the brain and/or spinal cord is affected by injury or illness. When muscle tone is increased, it is often a sign of a central nervous system disorder such as traumatic brain injury, stroke, brain tumor, and diseases such as multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease. Muscle tone is regulated by signals that travel from the brain to the nerves and tell the muscle to contract. Hypertonia happens when the regions of the brain or spinal cord that control these signals are damaged. Without the proper input, the muscles shorten and become stiff as a result.
Hypertonia often limits how easily joints can move, which impacts people’s functional ability and what they are able to do in their day to day lives. It also impacts how much muscular control a person has over the affected body part. If hypertonia affects the legs, walking can become more difficult and lead to an increased risk of falls because it becomes harder for the body to react quickly enough to regain balance. If hypertonia affects the arms, it can be difficult to reach for objects and have the muscular control to grasp things. If hypertonia is severe, it can cause joint contractures where the joint no longer has its full range of motion and it may become “frozen.”
Physical therapy can help maintain mobility and maximize function for a person with hypertonicity. PT’s utilize techniques such as joint mobilizations, stretching, manual resistive exercises, general strengthening exercises, and postural control to help combat the harmful effects of increased muscle tone. If you or a loved one has a condition which leads to hypertonicity you may be a candidate for physical therapy care. Contact one of our offices to schedule your PT evaluation today!
Posted in: Uncategorized