United Spinal Association, Jackson Heights, NY, has partnered with BOTOX maker Allergan Inc, actor Henry Winkler, and four national patient advocacy organizations to educate the public on what it says is the the low awareness and under-diagnosis of upper limb spasticity.

Spasticity is a debilitating condition impacting approximately 1 million Americans, many of whom suffer from spasticity in the upper limbs following a stroke, a spinal cord or traumatic brain injury, or due to disorders such as multiple sclerosis and cerebral palsy.

United Spinal Association and the Open Arms Campaign strive to increase public awareness and help those living with this debilitating condition find support. At www.OpenArmsCampaign.com, those affected by upper limb spasticity will learn how to recognize its symptoms and discover resources to treat the condition.

Other partners in Allergan’s campaign include National Stroke Association, Brain Injury Association of America, National Spinal Cord Injury Association, and United Cerebral Palsy.

Allergan and its Open Arms Campaign will be attending United Spinal’s upcoming Independence Expos in New York on June 25 to 26 and Florida on October 1 to 2. Campaign spokesman Henry Winkler, whose late mother struggled with the condition, without treatment, for 10 years following a stroke before she passed away, will be participating in the Florida Expo. United Spinal will be hosting educational seminars on upper limb spasticity and its treatment options during both of its Expos.

Upper limb spasticity occurs when the brain overcommunicates with the muscles causing them to constantly contract and tighten, resulting in pain, loss of dexterity, and difficulty walking or running, as well as other mobility issues. The condition can hinder a person’s ability to perform many everyday activities, such as getting dressed, hygiene, and eating.

One of the campaign’s primary goals is to address the delay in diagnosis of many individuals with upper limb spasticity who experience its onset weeks, months, or even years after their original injury–after they are discharged from the hospital and are no longer seeing specialists familiar with its symptoms.

Allergan recently received approval from the FDA for its drug BOTOX, to treat upper limb spasticity in people 18 years and older. The medication is administered through an injection into the muscles and used to help alleviate increased muscle stiffness in elbow, wrist, and finger muscles.

United Spinal is a national nonprofit membership organization formed in 1946 by paralyzed veterans and is dedicated to improving the quality of life for Americans with spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis, spina bifida, ALS, and post polio. It has played a role in writing the Americans with Disabilities Act, made important contributions to the Fair Housing Amendments Act, and the Air Carrier Access Act. Membership is free and is open to all individuals with spinal cord disorders.

[Source: United Spinal Association]