More MS news articles for August 2000

Easing Muscle Rigidity Focus of New Regions Hospital Clinic Service Offers Patients Promising Therapies in the Treatment of Adult Spasticity

Wednesday August 30, 6:01 pm Eastern Time
Press Release
SOURCE: Regions Hospital

ST. PAUL, Minn., Aug. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- The Rehabilitation Institute at Regions Hospital has opened a specialty clinic that focuses on easing muscle tightness and stiffness in adults with chronic conditions like cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury, brain injury and stroke.

The hospital's Spasticity Management Clinic now offers promising new therapies in the treatment of muscle spasticity, including intrathecal baclofen, the topic of a study published in this week's New England Journal of Medicine (embargoed until 5 p.m. EST, Wednesday, August 30).

People suffering from various forms of muscle spasticity often cannot move well enough to perform everyday activities like eating, walking or dressing. They require tremendous support from family members and caregivers, and often must endure extensive and painful therapies to maintain their level of function.

The goal of the new clinic is to help patients overcome muscle spasticity by offering promising new therapies with intensive physical and occupational therapy for results that are more effective and less invasive.

For instance, the Journal study outlines how baclofen therapy has been effective for some patients suffering from dystonia, a disorder characterized by irregular movements of muscles in the extremities.

Baclofen therapy calls for implanting an electronic pump into the abdomen which delivers the baclofen medication via catheter into the fluids surrounding the spinal cord.

Once properly administered, the baclofen can inhibit the brain's commands to have muscles contract. When combined with physical and occupational therapy, the treatments can produce dramatic improvements in muscle control and function.

"It is an exciting approach because some of the results are truly dramatic and life changing," said Dr. Bonnie Warhol, staff physician in rehabilitative medicine at Regions Hospital. "These and other therapies are offering hope for people who have difficulty with muscle spasticity."

Dr. Warhol will also treat specific muscles that are tight or have dystonia with botox, a powerful neurotoxin that is temporarily effective in stopping hyperactive muscle contractions.

"We inject the botox into muscles to weaken them," Dr. Warhol said. "The medication is effective for approximately three months, and it's easier to do range of motion, wear splints and perform daily living activities -- all with less pain."

The clinic began for Regions Hospital patients about one year ago and is now taking appointments from the general public. For more information, or to schedule an appointment, call the Regions Hospital Rehabilitation Institute at 651-221-2062.

Regions Hospital is a full-service, private hospital providing outstanding medical and surgical care, with special programs in heart, women's care, cancer, seniors' services, burn, emergency and Level I trauma. Established in 1872, the hospital has served the Twin Cities and surrounding region for more than 125 years. Patients receive state-of-the-art care in an environment that promotes comfort and healing. The health professionals at Regions Hospital are involved in teaching and research focused on improving health and medical care. Regions Hospital is part of the HealthPartners family of health care organizations. Please visit the Regions Hospital web site at http://www.RegionsHospital.com .

SOURCE: Regions Hospital