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HomeConditionsHeriditary Spastic Paraplegia


Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia

Hereditary spastic paraplegia (HSP) is a term used to describe a range of inherited genetic neurological disorders that cause extreme muscle stiffness and sometimes paralysis in the muscles of the lower limbs.



What is hereditary spastic paraplegia?

Hereditary spastic paraplegia (HSP) is a progressive illness affecting the motor neurones located in the central nervous system. The central nervous system is made up of the brain and the spinal cord. Motor neurones are nerve cells that transmit information from the brain down to the spinal cord and out to muscles, causing movement. Hereditary spastic paraplegia causes motor neurons in the brain and spinal cord to waste away or die, so they can no longer transmit impulses to the muscles.

The main effects of HSP is extreme muscle stiffness, otherwise known as spasticity, and sometimes paralysis.

Often in hereditary spastic paraplegia degeneration of the motor neurones is more severe in the longest motor neurons in the central nervous system. The longest motor neurons supply the muscles in the lower limbs and as a result the lower limbs are characteristically more affected by HSP. Most individuals with HSP do not experience symptoms in their arms or hands.

At Liverpool Neuro Physio we aim to maximise your quality of life throughout the course of your hereditary spastic paraplegia. Your physiotherapist will provide you with you with the quality of care you need in order to address the functional difficulties that may arise as a result of HSP. Your physiotherapist can advice you on appropriate exercises and stretches to manage your condition as well as the provision of equipment to assist and help maintain your functional independence.


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Types of hereditary spastic paraplegia

There are two main types of hereditary spastic paraplegia; uncomplicated and complicated.

In uncomplicated hereditary spastic paraplegia the individual will experience progressive muscle spasticity, however there will be an absence of other neurological deficits. In complicated hereditary spastic paraplegia the individual will experience spasticity and progressive weakening of the muscles in the lower limb alongside additional neurological deficits such as dementia, deafness, and speech problems.

In both types of HSP, physiotherapy can help manage muscle spasticity and weakness. Your physiotherapist can also work alongside other health professionals, such as speech therapists, to help manage any secondary neurological deficits you may experience as a result of complicated HSP.


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Effects of hereditary spastic paraplegia

Hereditary spastic paraplegia is characterised by progressive spasticity, which is felt as muscle stiffness. Although there is variation amongst both types of hereditary spastic paraplegia (uncomplicated HSP and complicated HSP) initial symptoms of the disorder may include:


At Liverpool Neuro your physiotherapist will provide you with an effective plan of physiotherapy treatment which will focus on improving and maintaining your strength in the muscles affected by HSP. Additionally the aim of your treatments is to reduce muscle wastage and weakening and prevent the development of secondary complications such as muscle contractures, which often occur as a result of repetitive muscle spasm.


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Physiotherapy treatment for hereditary spastic paraplegia

Hereditary spastic paraplegia is a progressive illness, so it is important that physiotherapy treatment is commenced as soon as possible following diagnosis, to help maintain your mobility where possible in order to promote as much functional independence as possible.

The aim of your physiotherapist at Liverpool Neuro Physio is to address the functional difficulties that may arise as a result of hereditary spastic paraplegia in order to maximise your muscle function, functional ability and general health. At Liverpool Neuro Physio our experienced physiotherapists often provide the following treatments for hereditary spastic paraplegia:



Your physiotherapist can help slow the progression of weakening and wastage in muscles currently unaffected by HSP by providing you with exercises to maintain your range of movement. At Liverpool Neuro Physio we can provide you with the treatment you need to ensure you stay independent for as long as possible.


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Benefits of physiotherapy treatment for hereditary spastic paraplegia

Your response to physiotherapy treatment depends on the severity and the current stage of progression of your hereditary spastic paraplegia. However at Liverpool Neuro Physio we can promise that we will provide you with the best quality of care you need in order to successfully manage the problems you experience as a result of your hereditary spastic paraplegia. Benefits of physiotherapy treatment for hereditary spastic paraplegia may include:



At Liverpool Neuro Physio your physiotherapist can provide you with an effective plan of treatment in order to help maintain your independent mobility and your functional independence and slow the progression of muscle weakness and wastage.


To arrange an appointment or to speak to one of our specialists, call us on 0151 558 0188 or email office@liverpoolneurophysio.co.uk.


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