Spastic Paralysis: Definition, Causes, Types, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

We are talking about a difficulty in controlling the muscles, which tend to stretch and weaken

Hereditary spastic paraplegia, spastic paralysis, or Strumpell-Lorraine syndrome, is a collection of inherited neurological disorders in which there is gradual weakness of the leg muscles along with increased muscle tone and spasticity.

Spastic paralysis or Strumpell-Lorraine syndrome is also known as familial spastic paraplegia.

The age of onset of hereditary spastic paraplegia symptoms and the severity of weakness and spasticity is significantly variable.

Symptoms may be seen from infancy to as late as when a person is about 90 years old, but most of the time, symptoms of hereditary spastic paraplegia begin to appear in their 30s.

What are the causes of hereditary spastic paraplegia?

Studies suggest that inherited spastic paraplegia is caused by mutations in different genes.

In most cases of inherited spastic paraplegia, these mutations tend to be transmitted in an autosomal dominant manner.

In very rare cases, these mutations are transmitted in an autosomal recessive manner.

The exact defect in hereditary spastic paraplegia is still unknown, but it is suggested that some associated symptoms are caused by progressive degenerative changes in the corticospinal tracts whose function is to transmit impulses from the brain to the muscles, which are responsible for the control of movements. volunteers.

Subtypes of hereditary spastic paralysis

There are two subtypes of inherited spastic paraplegia. The two subtypes are the uncomplicated or pure type and the complicated type.

Uncomplicated or Pure Type : The uncomplicated or pure type of hereditary spastic paraplegia is associated with spastic paraplegia.

Complicated type: associated with spastic paraplegia and additional neurological abnormalities. Additional neurological abnormalities are hearing impairment, mental retardation, and ataxia.

Simple or uncomplicated symptoms of hereditary spastic paraplegia

What are the symptoms of hereditary spastic paraplegia?

Symptoms of the uncomplicated or pure type of hereditary spastic paraplegia:

  • Muscle and joint stiffness.
  • Weakness: there is weakness in the leg muscles.
  • Balance : involuntary falls are observed secondary to balance disorder. The abnormal balance is caused by muscle weakness and malfunction of the cerebellum associated with hereditary spastic paraplegia / Strumpell-Lorraine Syndrome.
  • Abnormal gait : The disease is associated with an abnormal gait pattern, which progressively worsens as the disease progresses, but the total loss of the ability to walk is an extremely rare phenomenon.

Additional symptoms suggest:

  • Hearing impairment.
  • Mental retardation.
  • Ataxia.

How is it diagnosed?

To diagnose hereditary spastic paraplegia or Strumpell-Lorraine syndrome, it is essential to have information about the person’s family history to identify if any other family member or relative has the same problem.

Apart from this, other non-genetic causes of spasticity must be ruled out.

For this, spinal and brain MRI is imperative. An electrophysiological study is being investigated to assess the characteristics of the disease. 3 To confirm the diagnosis of hereditary spastic paraplegia, genetic tests are performed that target known genetic mutations.


As of now, there is no clear treatment for hereditary spastic paraplegia or Strumpell-Lorraine syndrome, but some of the treatments mentioned are helpful.

Physical therapy is extremely important for improving the range of motion of the affected limb, as well as strengthening the muscles. A consultation with a specialist in physical medicine and rehabilitation can also be beneficial in this regard.

People with inherited spastic paraplegia have a high degree of spasticity and weakness in the leg muscles, making it difficult for them to walk.

For this, antispasmodics can be beneficial in reducing spasticity and helping to strengthen muscles with physical therapy.

Exercises for hereditary spastic paraplegia

Strengthening exercises: These exercises help strengthen muscles and also prevent the development of muscle atrophy due to disuse.

Back pain as a result of inherited spastic paraplegia can be relieved with back strengthening exercises.

Stretching exercises: These exercises are beneficial in increasing the range of motion and preventing the development of cramps, etc.

Aerobic exercises: Apart from the exercises mentioned above, regular aerobic exercises are also very beneficial for people with inherited spastic paraplegia or Strumpell-Lorraine syndrome.

Some of the useful aerobic exercises are:

  • To walk.
  • Riding a bicycle.
  • Water aerobics.
  • To swim.