Development of an integrated conceptual model of multiple sclerosis spasticity

Disability and rehabilitation(2023)

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PurposeSpasticity is common in multiple sclerosis (MS), often leading to functional limitations and disability. We developed a conceptual model of spasticity in MS integrating expert opinion, recent literature, and experiences of clinicians and people with MS spasticity.MethodsA conceptual model was developed based on a targeted literature review of articles published between 2014 and 2019, followed by input from clinicians, then input from participants with MS spasticity. Multidisciplinary experts on spasticity provided guidance at each step.ResultsKey concepts of the integrated spasticity conceptual model included: moderators; triggers; modifiers; treatment; objective manifestations; subjective experience; physical, functional, social, and emotional/psychological impacts; and long-term consequences. Participants with MS spasticity most frequently endorsed spasms, tightness, and pain as descriptors of spasticity. Some participants with MS spasticity had difficulty distinguishing spasticity from other MS symptoms (e.g. muscle weakness). Some triggers, emotional/psychological impacts, and long-term consequences of spasticity reported by participants with MS spasticity were not previously identified in the published literature.ConclusionsThis conceptual model of spasticity, integrating published literature with the experience of clinicians, people with MS spasticity, and experts, demonstrates the complex, multidimensional nature of MS spasticity. This model may be used to improve clinician-patient dialogue, research, and patient care.
Multiple sclerosis,muscle spasticity,conceptual model,qualitative research,interviews
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