Upper Limb Spasticity in Adults

What Is Upper Limb Spasticity?

Upper Limb Spasticity

Affecting the arms, specifically the elbow, forearm, wrist, and hand muscles

Increase in muscle tension causing tightness, stiffness, or uncontrollable pull of muscles


  • Stroke (most common cause)
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Spinal cord problems (such as lesions)
  • Cerebral palsy in adults


  • Muscle stiffness (known as hypertonia)
  • Limited range of movement
  • Reduced ability to relax muscles
  • Muscle spasms
  • Changes in limb position
  • Pain
An estimated 12 million adult patients worldwide suffer from

5 Common Patterns2

blue background Flexed elbow

Flexed elbow

blue background Bent wrist

Bent wrist

blue background Pronated forearm

Pronated forearm

blue background Clenched fist

Clenched fist

blue background Thumb-in-palm



  1. Spasticity. American Association of Neurological Surgeons website. https://www.aans.org/en/Patients/Neurosurgical-Conditions-and-Treatments/Spasticity. Accessed June 18, 2021.
  2. Differential diagnosis for spasticity. NeuroRehab Resource website. http://www.neurorehabresource.org/Files/NRR_Differential_Diagnosis.pdf. Accessed June 18, 2021.
  3. Spasticity, what is it? American Stroke Association website. https://www.stroke.org/en/about-stroke/effects-of-stroke/physical-effects-of-stroke/physical-impact/spasticity. Accessed June 18, 2021.