Loosening Spasticity’s Muscular Grip

Darren Chavers developed a rare neurological condition that increased his muscle tone – the amount of muscle resistance to movement. It left him shaky and unbalanced while walking. It was causing a real problem for the Marrero-based marine salesman who works in an industrial setting.

“It was affecting my motor skills, my walking, and my quality of life at home and at work,” he recalled. “I was a fall risk. I could no longer climb a ladder to do a simple thing like changing a lightbulb. I was forced to ask for help and it was an imposition on everyone around me.”

Darren saw Culicchia Neurological Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Specialist Andrea Toomer, MD, who found that he could benefit from a highly measured dose of intrathecal baclofen to relax the muscle tone that was keeping Darren from walking in balance and with confidence.

andrea-toomer-md-culicchia-neuro-mobile-photo“When I saw Darren he was ambulatory and was able to get up and walk in the exam room and clinic hallway without an assistive device. He was definitely unsteady and walking with much speed,” Dr. Toomer recalled. “It was very evident that his increased muscle tone was causing that deficit.” Dr. Toomer ordered a test dose of intrathecal baclofen for Darren.

After the test dose, Darren felt a dramatic improvement. “I was overjoyed,” Darren said. “It was amazing the difference it made in my control when I was walking and lifting and carrying things. I knew right then that this was for me – that this was going to change my life.”

“Every patient needs a different dose of medication and Darren needed a very small dose of intrathecal baclofen to make a huge difference in his spasticity and that translated over to his function and quality of life,” Dr. Toomer said

Although Darren was ambulatory, he wanted more. The surgically implanted pump delivers intrathecal baclofen around the clock.

Darren had a pump implanted to deliver small doses of intrathecal baclofen throughout the day. Three months later, and with a course of physical therapy, Darren said the results have been tremendous.

Patient overcomes spasticity“I’m back at work. I’m able to function like I used to at work and home. I’m able to help in the kitchen and barbecue and not have to worry about falling. It’s given me a new lease on life. “It’s been absolutely amazing and life-changing I would do it again in the heartbeat.”


Culicchia Neurosurgeon John Steck