Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

Spasticity Management Program

Spasticity management from leading Boston physiatrists

The Spasticity Management Program at Tufts Medical Center provides personalized care to children and adolescents who have pain, discomfort or physical limitations caused by spasticity. Our physiatrists have decades of experience in treating children with Botulinum toxin (Botox) therapy, phenol therapy, intrathecal baclofen (ITB) pumps and a wide range of advanced, non-surgical techniques — all delivered with warmth, understanding and personal attention your child will find reassuring. 

The personalized approach to managing Spasticity

The methods we use to manage spasticity are based on an in-depth evaluation of your child, which leads to a carefully designed, personalized treatment plan. Each child’s needs are different, and our treatment approach reflects your child’s uniqueness. We select and use the right combination of therapies to help your child reach his or her goals, such as staying in school, exercising, playing and building friendships.

Traditional, non-surgical methods

Depending on the severity and frequency of your child’s spasticity problems, we may use traditional, physical methods of management, such as therapeutic heat, cold and electrical stimulation, in combination with the latest in effective physiatric techniques, which reduce hyper-tonicity (abnormally tight muscle or muscles).

Some of the other typical treatments options we may prescribe include:

  • Exercise programs
  • Stretching
  • Bracing
  • Splinting
  • Oral medication

Botox and Phenol injections and Intrathecal Baclofen Pump (ITB) Therapy

For many patients, injecting  their muscles with Botox or phenol can temporarily alleviate spasticity. How long the benefit of these injections lasts depend on the severity of your child’s condition, the dose of medication and other factors.

Botox or phenol is often prescribed to temporarily suppress spasticity so your child can participate in physical therapy and exercise, work on communications skills and pursue other goals. Additionally, these medications  can relieve spasticity in some children  for longer periods. Botox injections, for example, can be effective for up to six months.

For children with severe spasticity, an ITB pump can be effective in controlling spasticity on a daily basis. After the ITB pump is surgically implanted in the abdomen, it continuously releases baclofen into the body to manage spasticity 24/7.

When spasticity or contractures shorten tendons, we may use bracing to correct the problem, or we may recommend a procedure such as:

  • Tenotomy
  • Tendon-lengthening procedures
  • Tendon transfers

These tendon procedures are performed by expert surgeons in Pediatric Orthopaedics, who work closely with us and are just a few steps from our office space in Tufts Medical Center. The orthopaedists at Tufts Medical Center also treat patients whose disabilities lead to arthritis, scoliosis and other musculoskeletal problems.

A major advantage of coming to our physiatry department is that we work closely with a wide range of experienced pediatric specialists here at Tufts Medical Center and in your community.

Depending on your child’s need and goals, we may also collaborate on his or her care with experts in areas such as:

Jeffrey L Forman, MD

Jeffrey L Forman, MD

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Accepting New Patients

Virtual Appointments Available

Title(s): Attending, Chief of Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine; Assistant Clinical Professor, TUSM
Department(s): Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Appt. Phone: 617-636-5626
Fax #: 617-636-5056

Cerebral Palsy, spasticity management, focal tone modulation with Botulinum toxin, nerve blocks, intrathecal Baclofen pump evaluation and management

View Full Profile for Jeffrey L Forman, MD

Harry C. Webster, MD, MPH, FAAP

Harry C. Webster, MD, MPH, FAAP

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Virtual Appointments Available

Title(s): Physiatrist, Pediatric Division of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation; Clinical Associate Professor, Tufts University School of Medicine
Department(s): Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Pediatric Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Appt. Phone: 617-636-5626
Fax #: 617-636-5056

Pediatric rehabilitation, spasticity/tone evaluation and treatment, long-term care of chronically impaired children, transition of disabled children to adult services, muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, orthotics for gait disorders, pediatric orthotics

View Full Profile for Harry C. Webster, MD, MPH, FAAP