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Multiple Sclerosis Health Center

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Spasticity and MS: How to Control Your Muscles

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Medications for Spasticity

The most common medications to treat the condition include the muscle relaxants baclofen (Gablofen, Kemstro, Lioresal) and tizanidine (Zanaflex).

Another option is diazepam (Valium), which can help you sleep if nighttime spasms keep you awake.

If pills don’t work, your doctor might be able to put a pump inside your body to deliver the medication directly to your spine (such as the baclofen pump). You can also get shots of botulinum toxin (such as Botox or Myobloc) to relax your muscles.

When Does Surgery Help?

When other treatments don't work, there are two types of surgery that can treat spasticity.

In one type, a surgeon cuts away part of the spinal nerve. The operation is called rhizotomy. The goal is to relieve pain or ease muscle tension.

Tendon release, also called a tenotomy, is the second type. A surgeon cuts severely tight tendons away from the muscles. It may make spasticity happen less often and make it less severe, depending on how old you are. Over time, you may need to have the surgery again.

These surgeries can help, but they’re usually only for extreme cases of spasticity.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Neil Lava, MD on June 14, 2015
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