Good news for thousands of residents living in the Western and Northern Galilee, Galilee Medical Center has opened a Spasticity Clinic to offer a comprehensive, responsive multidisciplinary service for spasticity associated with neurological conditions, supervised by specialists from the Rehabilitation, Neurosurgery and the Neurology Departments.

Spasticity is a debilitating disorder of the central nervous system that people who have had a stroke or who have acquired brain injury, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy or a spinal cord injury may experience. While some people with spasticity have mild muscle stiffness, others have severe and painful joint and muscle spasms.

A patient who suffers from spasticity receives appropriate pharmacological treatment at the clinic, along with a variety of activities in the rehabilitation department, including physical therapy, occupational therapy and hydrotherapy, all within the framework of collaboration between specialists from the various departments.

A recent case of a 47-year-old patient, with multiple sclerosis who suffered a head injury, at the rehabilitation department, managed by Dr. Julia Kovalenko, is illustrative of the benefits of the clinic. Following hospitalization in the Neurosurgical Intensive Care Unit, the patient underwent rehabilitation, during which it turned out that he could not return to his previous functions, due to the spasticity caused by exacerbation of multiple sclerosis. Here, Dr. Sergey Abeshaus, Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery, entered the picture and implanted a low-dose drug pump that infuses the drug directly to his spinal fluid, in conjunction with the rehabilitation department. Following administration of the drug through the pump, combined with the rehabilitation process, there has been a significant improvement in his condition.

"There are several benefits to administering the drug through the pump" Dr. Kovalenko and Dr. Abeshaus explain. "First of all, the patient has almost no side effects, as opposed to administering the drug in other ways.
Thus allowing avoidance of a restriction on the dosage of the drug. Through the pump, the patient can receive a smaller amount of the drug with a greater effect."

The two also added that the treatment provides an effective solution to the problem of spasticity, while significantly improving the patient's quality of life, independence and mobility.
This is a great news for thousands of patients from northern Israel who previously had to go to hospitals in the center of the country for medical care; today they can receive all the healthcare services closer to home under one roof at Galilee Medical Center. Treatments at the Spasticity Management Clinic are included in the health care basket and are free of charge for the patient.

photo of Dr. Julia Kovalenko, Director of Rehabilitation Department and Dr. Sergey Abeshaus, Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery.

Credit: Roni Albert