Curr Probl Pediatr Adolesc Health Care. 2017 Jul;47(7):161-166. doi: 10.1016/j.cppeds.2017.06.005. Epub 2017 Jul 15.


Hypertonia is the abnormal increase in muscle tone as a result of upper motor neuron lesions. There are three following clinical types: spasticity, dystonia, and rigidity. Management of hypertonia is individualized and should be directed by the patient and/or family׳s goals of care as well as the underlying cause of the hypertonia. Treatment options include stretching, strengthening, positioning, oral medications, botulinum toxin injections, phenol injections, as well as surgical procedures. Without effective management, hypertonia can result in muscle imbalance, abnormal movement patterns, pain, joint contracture, joint deformity, and ultimately negatively impact a patient׳s function. This discussion serves as an overview of hypertonia, focusing on spasticity and dystonia, in the pediatric population by examining the causes and epidemiology, elucidating its symptoms, discussing available treatment and management options, and clarifying why this all matters.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Baclofen / therapeutic use
  • Dystonia / diagnosis
  • Dystonia / etiology
  • Dystonia / therapy
  • Humans
  • Muscle Hypertonia / diagnosis
  • Muscle Hypertonia / etiology
  • Muscle Hypertonia / therapy*
  • Muscle Relaxants, Central / therapeutic use
  • Muscle Spasticity / diagnosis
  • Muscle Spasticity / etiology
  • Muscle Spasticity / therapy


  • Muscle Relaxants, Central
  • Baclofen