This refers to the tension in a muscle. Muscle tone should be high enough to hold a position against gravity, yet low enough to move a body joint through its full range of motion. Abnormal muscle tone would be either extreme tension or lack of tension in a muscle.
A characteristic of a muscle brought about by the constant flow of nerve stimuli to that muscle, which describes its resistance to stretching. Abnormal muscle tone can be defined as: hypertonus (increased muscle tone, as in spasticity); hypotonus (reduced muscle tone [flaccid paralysis]); or atony (loss of muscle tone). Muscle tone is evaluated as part of the standard neurological exam in MS.
Used in clinical practice to describe the resistance of a muscle to being stretched. When the peripheral nerve to a muscle is severed, the muscle becomes flaccid (limp). When nerve fibers in the brain or spinal cord are damaged, the balance between facilitation and inhibition of muscle tone is disturbed. The tone of some muscles may become increased and they resist being stretched - a condition called hypertonicity or spasticity. [Click Here To Return To List