The relationship between clinical and laboratory measures of spasticity

Aust J Physiother. 1999;45(2):135-139. doi: 10.1016/s0004-9514(14)60345-7.


This report examines the strength of the relationship between two clinical and two laboratory measures of spasticity. Clinical and laboratory measures of both reflex activity and resistance to movement were collected to describe spasticity in two groups of people after stroke. For both data sets, significant relationships between the clinical and laboratory measures were found only for measures of resistance to movement, not for measures of reflex activity. This finding suggests that the Ashworth scale is the best clinical tool for measuring resistance to movement. However, it is important to note that the cause of the resistance to movement graded using this tool may not be spasticity. A measurement tool which can differentiate spasticity from contracture is required for clinical practice.