Parents often wonder what spasticity feels like.
Here’s my take on it. From a Facebook post on January 20, 2018:
I had SDR this past July as a young adult. Pre-SDR, every time I moved my legs, there was resistance, as if there were elastic bands pulling me in the opposite direction. This was especially true when I tried to move quickly, because spasticity increases as the speed of a movement increases. When I was younger, I remember asking my parents, “Why do I move slow when I try to move fast?” They were very confused by my question, but it was because when I tried to “run,” my muscles would sort of seize up on me/freeze, and moving took a lot more effort.
Immediately after surgery (i.e., the first couple days in the hospital), my legs felt heavy and numb from the epidural, but for the first time, I could wiggle my toes and they wouldn’t “fight” the movement. It just took so much less effort! I don’t know if I can ever convey how incredible it feels to be able to tell your body to do something and to have it listen, without resisting, for the first time in your life.
Once I started walking, my legs felt heavy and light at the same time. The heaviness might have been from the numbness and the weakness uncovered by the surgery – but mostly, they felt incredibly light. My steps were almost comically high at first, because I was exerting the same amount of force to move my legs as before surgery, but moving was so much easier.
And now…it’s been over six months since my surgery, and sometimes I just do laps around the house for the sheer joy of it. Moving is actually enjoyable now. My legs *still* feel incredibly light, and they don’t resist me anymore. I can go outside on a freezing day and I tense up a little bit, but I’m not nearly as stiff as before – it doesn’t feel impossible to move in cold temperatures, as it did before SDR.
When I go to the gym or PT and strap weights on my ankles, it feels similar to how I remember my legs from pre-SDR. That heaviness is familiar…but I would never go back, not in a million years. I feel so much more comfortable in my own body. SDR changed my life completely.