Assessment and Measurement of Spasticity in MS: State of the Evidence
Purpose of Review
The purpose of this review is to familiarize the reader with assessments and measurement of spasticity in people with multiple sclerosis (MS). Spasticity affects 60–84% of people with MS, worsening as disability worsens and impacting activity, participation, and quality of life. Spasticity manifests in many ways, including spasms, resistance to passive stretch, pain, and perception of tightness, and can affect muscles throughout the body, making assessment and quantification of spasticity challenging but important. Assessment tools include those quantified by clinicians, instrumentation, and patients.
Most tools for measuring spasticity are based on clinician scoring, were developed many years ago, and have undergone minimal recent advances. More recent developments are patient-reported outcome measures for spasticity, including the Numeric Rating Scale for Spasticity (NRS-S) and the disease-specific Multiple Sclerosis Spasticity Scale-88 (MSSS), and, most recently, imaging through elastography.
MS-related spasticity is common and often disabling. There are various spasticity measurement tools available, each with advantages and limitations. Newer tools are likely to be developed as our understanding of spasticity in MS grows.
KeywordsMultiple sclerosis Spasticity Measurement Assessment Outcomes
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
Cinda L. Hugos declares no potential conflicts of interest. Michelle H. Cameron reports consulting fees from Adamas Pharmaceuticals and Greenwich Bioscience/GW Pharmaceuticals, outside the submitted work.
Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent
This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.
The contents do not represent the views of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs or the United States Government.
Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance
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