Assessment and Measurement of Spasticity in MS: State of the Evidence

Cinda L. Hugos, Michelle H. Cameron

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Purpose of Review: The purpose of this review is to familiarize the reader with assessments and measurement of spasticity in people with multiple sclerosis (MS). Spasticity affects 60–84% of people with MS, worsening as disability worsens and impacting activity, participation, and quality of life. Spasticity manifests in many ways, including spasms, resistance to passive stretch, pain, and perception of tightness, and can affect muscles throughout the body, making assessment and quantification of spasticity challenging but important. Assessment tools include those quantified by clinicians, instrumentation, and patients. Recent Findings: Most tools for measuring spasticity are based on clinician scoring, were developed many years ago, and have undergone minimal recent advances. More recent developments are patient-reported outcome measures for spasticity, including the Numeric Rating Scale for Spasticity (NRS-S) and the disease-specific Multiple Sclerosis Spasticity Scale-88 (MSSS), and, most recently, imaging through elastography. Summary: MS-related spasticity is common and often disabling. There are various spasticity measurement tools available, each with advantages and limitations. Newer tools are likely to be developed as our understanding of spasticity in MS grows.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number79
JournalCurrent neurology and neuroscience reports
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2019


  • Assessment
  • Measurement
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Outcomes
  • Spasticity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Clinical Neurology


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