Painful muscle spasms in a patient with Friedreich’s ataxia (FA) were managed by administering baclofen in the spinal canal, a case study reports.
The study was published in the journal Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery.
About 11-15% of patients with Friedreich’s ataxia experience painful muscle spasms or muscle contractions, but little is known about the underlying processes that cause this complication.
Physiotherapy is commonly the first approach to manage these symptoms, and oral medications such as muscle relaxers and pain relievers are often used if that doesn’t work.
In the study titled “Intrathecal Baclofen Therapy for Painful Muscle Spasms in a Patient with Friedreich’s Ataxia,” Greek researchers reported the case of a woman with FA who experienced drug-resistant painful muscle spasms.
She first began experiencing ataxia symptoms at age 22 with unsteadiness and hand clumsiness, but a diagnosis of Friedreich’s ataxia wasn’t confirmed until years later, after a genetic analysis.
Her motor function deteriorated progressively, and by the age 28 she needed to use a cane. For the last 15 years she had been wheelchair-bound. When she was 58 she started to develop severe difficulties in speech articulation.
At age 64, the patient began experiencing muscle spasms from every five minutes to every three hours, affecting her legs and trunk simultaneously.