Posted on March 13, 2011 · Posted in TBI Voices
This entry is part 3 of 8 in the series Doug

Bacolofen Pump for Spasticity: Doug Part Three

Before we get into talking about the Bacolofen Pump for spasticity we will talk about what spasticity is and what causes it. The biggest limitation that Doug has with his left arm, his whole left side is spasticity. Spasticity means the inability of a muscle to relax (as if it was in a permanent cramp.) People with spasticity have increased muscle tone (meaning the muscles won’t relax) a condition also called hypertonia, an unusual “tightness” of muscles.

Cortical (brain related) spasticity usually manifests as dystonic posturing and hemiplegia; spinal spasticity typically involves spasticity found in the antigravity muscles, that is, flexor muscles in the arms and extensor muscles in the legs. Cortical spasticity applies to lesions within the brain; spinal spasticity is indicative of spinal pathology.


Doug explains his spasticity:

It’s basically you’re like – if you get a build up in your muscles and it builds up to start shaking. At night because I wear a knee brace at night to help keep my legs straight and I usually will take it off in the middle of the night because I don’t need it. I’ll take it off, but in the morning if I try to stretch out my leg, my leg will, start shaking really hard. It will be just shaking and that’s usually the spasticity. Or like sometimes in my arm, if I get up in the morning, the first time I get up my arm will just start shaking real hard.

Almost like a cramping. It can be painful at times. The pain feels kind of weird because it is just constantly through your whole body, shaking your whole arm, your whole leg, uncontrollably.

Major advances in treating spasticity have come from administering two drugs, botox and baclofen with a Bacolofen Pump for spasticity, both which Doug has received. He started just getting Botox shots but then he has had better success with the Bacolofen Pump for spasticity.

It’s a Baclofen pump to help with the spasticity and I usually get it filled – let’s see, I get it filled like every three months and it really helps with the spasticity because I go swimming – well, I go to the pool twice a week for exercises and it really helps on reducing the spasticity –so my arm and legs don’t shake and it also reduces so it don’t have to – I’m constantly getting Baclofen into my system, so I don’t have to be taking so many pills.

He has had the Bacolofen Pump for spasticity for the last two years. The pump distributes the medicine automatically, a little bit at a time. His spasticity and his whole left side has been better since he got on the pump. He explains the difference in his function before and after the Bacolofen Pump for spasticity:

Let’s see, before my pump I’d probably get more (shots) – because I only – I was able to take four Baclofen pills a day, so I’d only be getting – let’s see, 20, 40, 60, 80 milligrams a day. So, if I would really do a lot more exercise I’d be shaking – I’d be getting more spasticity a lot more during the day, but now I don’t get quite as much. So, if I do extra, you know, extra work I don’t get as much spasticity in my leg.

For a discussion of the relative merits of botox versus the Bacolofen Pump for spasticity, click here: While this is an article that addresses spacticity in the context of cerebral palsy, the treatment for spasticity from severe brain injury would have similar implications.

See also quoted above.

Next – Transitioning to the Real World

About the Author

Attorney Gordon S. Johnson, Jr.
Past Chair Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group, American Association of Justice :: 800-992-9447