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CES Medicina

Print version ISSN 0120-8705


SEPULVEDA, Paulina; BACCO, José Luis; CUBILLOS, Alejandro  and  DOUSSOULIN, Arlette. Spasticity as a positive sign of superior motor neuron damage and its importance in rehabilitation. CES Med. [online]. 2018, vol.32, n.3, pp.259-269. ISSN 0120-8705.


Spasticity as a clinical sign of upper motor neuron damage becomes highly important when defining its impact on the rehabilitation process. The aim of this bibliographical review is to examine the evolution of spasticity as a concept, describe the current findings in relation to its pathophysiology and to analyze its importance on the rehabilitation process.

Material and methods:

A bibliographic search was carried out during 2018 using Pubmed, Scielo, Cochrane and Google Academic databases, using the terms MeSH: 'muscle spasticity', 'physiopathology' and 'stroke'. The searches were limited to full texts in English and Spanish language, published during the last 5 years and for human patients.


The physiopathology of spasticity is not caused by a single mechanism, but rather an intricate chain of alterations in different interdependent nerve networks. Analyzed articles describe two main mechanisms, alteration of the control spinal and suprasegmental and changes in the properties of the musculoskeletal system.


The scientific evidence is broad and addresses the concept of spasticity, its pathophysiological and clinical implications. However, future research should guide and support the decisions of the rehabilitation team, in relation to their clinical management.

Keywords : Rehabilitation; Muscle Spasticity; Physiopathology; Neurology; Stroke.

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