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constant muscle spasm - anyone have this?

aimlessaaimless Posts: 372
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:25 AM in Chronic Pain
Not exactly sure where to post this, and I am going to ask my doc when I see him on the 15th, but I am wondering...

I have this constant muscle spasm in my left leg, at the top / back of my thigh, right below my butt. I would not say it is painful but I can literally feel it moving all the time. I had an MRI the other day and the movement did not interfere with that, and I do take a muscle relaxant every night (can't take them during the day). It just doesn't seem to go away.

My L5-S1 herniation is to the left so my leg nerve pain is on my left, I'm used to weird stuff happening in this leg. Just wondering if anyone else has non-stop but non-debilitating muscle spasms.



  • I got them in my lower back and would radiate to my middle back before my surgery. That seems to be the one thing that has gotten better from surgery. I know this has nothing to do with your leg, just wanted you to know that I sympathize with muscle spasm pain.

  • if even though your issues are to the left if it could be causing muscle tightness to the right. Not sure but it makes sense that it might.
  • One of the things that my neurosurgeon pointed out to me early on, was that many people confuse a muscle twitch with a muscle spasm.

    Muscle spasm is a condition by which a muscle contracts involuntarily and does not relax. A muscle spasm can occur in any muscle in the body. Other common names for muscle spasm include muscle cramp and charley horse (particularly when it occurs in one’s leg).

    Muscle twitching is the result of minor local muscle contractions or the uncontrollable twitching of a single muscle group served by a single motor nerve fiber or filament.

    Muscle twitches are minor and often go unnoticed. Some are common and normal, while others indicate a neurologic disorder.

    I hope this helps explain the difference between the two. Both indicate a problem, but possibly different causes.

  • As always, some good insight! Because it is not painful or tight per se (just constant and annoying), I'm inclined to think C may be on to something - twitch. Thank you for explaining the difference, very clear, makes perfect sense.
  • OMG, my random Internet searches finally found someone who is having this too...!

    Me: 42 y/o male. Non-smoker. Only medical issue is minor high-cholesterol (taking meds for it). 5'8"/170. Good physical condition with regular exercise (AND yardwork;-).

    My story: herniated disk (L5) about 2.5 years ago. Most of the pain was in my right leg. My idiot neurosurgeon (sorry) didn't GET it that I was in terrible pain and let me suffer for almost two months before giving me two spinal injections (on two different occasions) -- I was out of work for 1.5 months during this time on my living room floor. So, my right leg atrophied very badly, my calf was almost the size of my forearm. (This may or may not be related to my current issue.)

    Ok, I recovered from all that and "re-built" my leg, but ever since then I've had muscle spasms, twitches, and debilitating charlie horses in my calf (whatever the name, they all stink!) -- constantly. It never stops, it's doing it right now as I type this and if I put my leg into the wrong position -- I can trigger a charlie horse *like that*...nothing seems to stop it, however, all those common things that effect "normal" cramps effect it in a big way; almost in a hyper-sensitive way (dehydration, cold, etc.). I get a half-dozen mini charlie horses a night (I've learn to feel them coming on and deal with it) but occasionally a mother-of-all-charlie horses will hit (like last night) that almost puts me in tears.

    I have had MRI's, x-rays, half-dozen different meds, ultrasounds on my arteries and veins (to check for blood flow), peripheral blood pressure checks, physical therapy with a spinal specialist, electrolyte checks and other blood work. No one knows what to do. I volunteer as an EMT-B, so I have a little formal training in trying to put symptoms and cause/effect together; but i find rhyme-or-reason to any of it.

    My most recent course of action is seeing a neurologist. His theory is this: during the "episodes surrounding the disk herniation, the nervous system was trained to think of pain in a different way -- therefore, we need to re-train the system. He is giving me twice the normal dose of Neurontin (16 pills a day), a drug that's normally prescribed for seizures, over the course of 3 - 6 months. This is a new course of action for this field (and frankly I'm dubious about it -- but I'll try anything at this point). Two months into this and there's still no change.

    You're not alone! I've added you as a buddy here -- please keep me posted if you learn anything, I will do the same here.

    ...and just when I thought I was simply going nuts.

  • I have just recently been having severe muscle spasms (to the point at which I might almost cause them seizures-- well, tentany- like arches, and heavy contractions) of my leg, trunk and arm, hand and feet muscles. Felt like it did when I used to try to go thru withdrawal of a med (but I'm not withdrawing from anything, right now). The only thing I could figure out, is that I recently tried to INCREASE my Neurontin dose! (Now, I'm taking it back down, again). No, I'm not epileptic...I was on it for post herpetic neuralgia (post-Shingles). Also, though, I have a craving for salt, and have been some unbelievable stress in the past year, or so... (maybe adrenal insufficiency? Sodium level problems?)

    I am seeing my doc on Wed.

    Of course, I also have herniated disks, fibromyalgia, etc., etc.

    And here I am, a Newbie on here...sigh...I had wanted to ease in slowly!!! :$
  • I get that on the opposite leg of the herniation only it's my calf. Especially after the ESIs last dose Dec.6. No more pain just calf tightness and moves like a contraction but if I stretch my leg at the same time I get a cramp in the calf and in the toe it's not fun but what I had before the injections was endless pain and tingling so I'll take the contractions but after 1 year this is getting old. Wish the herniation would dry up like it's supposed to. Blah
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • I am just recovering from an 11 hr "charlie horse" in my left hand. It started last night after I put the kids to bed...had trouble going to sleep and then woke me a 3:30 am. Only this morning was I able to close and open my hand to get rid of it. I couldn't move my wrist, my outside 3 fingers were effective as well as my thumb. It hurt so bad, i really thought I broke my hand! The pain would go thru my wrist and up to my elbow.

    I have severe muscle spasms in my back - whole back from hips to neck and thru my neck muscles. I am receiving Botox for this on the 13th -

    No twitching, major muscle contrations - thanks for the definitions C - is twitching a prelude to spasms? I previously had lots and lots of twitching thur the T spine and now it is all jsut pure spasms.

  • I think it is Cubital Tunnel - just like carpel of the hand/wrist - but from the elbow - it makes alot of sense. Only left with the pain - elbow, wrist, ring finger. I have had both my hands done (05/06) carpel tunnel. Surprised in the left, I am right handed. - But those were some major spasms of the hand - couldn't unfold my hand, claw like - hurt, hurt, hurt!
  • That's what I call them because they are so awful. I would get those in my legs, and would feel the thigh get rock hard. Of course I'd be crying by this point. I would also get spasms in my calf and in the arch of my foot. The only thing equally worse is the crushing pain on the top of my foot. Massaging the area carefully is very soothing, and heating pads are helpful. Of course, always take your nerve pain medicine ON TIME every day to avoid this from getting worse.
  • i get permanent muscle spasms in my lower back towards my right hand side and centre back and in my right calf .nothing i do helps and walking standing and swimming all makes it worse
  • I've been getting sharp spasms over my L5/s1 fusion for years. Also where they did the C5/C6 fushion - post surgically I was in agony with the neck spasms. I've gotten relief from deep tissue massage, acupuncture, and my tens unit. Serious streching with rubber bands, and keeping my hamstrings and hip flexors loose makes a big difference. STretching the thigh, butt and leg around the periformis (butt muscle) Sometimes nerves are impinged there instead of the spine and the symptoms look just like sciatica. Sometimes the tens will get this muscle bundle just to the left of my waist to calm down when it's just pounding. A little good wine doesn't hurt, either but of course you have to be careful with the meds.
    When I get leg and foot cramps, I immediately get up and walk on the leg. That works better than anything - you need to put your weight on it. It hurts like hell but is usually effective to break the spasm. It also gives you something to do rather lying there in bed screaming ;-). And then eat a banana - the magnesium cant hurt, and it tastes good and distracts you. That's all the tens does, but distracted is better than throbbing annoyance or excrutiating pain.

    I hope you feel better, all of you. I think I like this community - I feel a lot less like a freak with my 22 screws and a collection of plates and god-know-what cadaver parts glued here and there :-O
  • Reminder: constant spasms in my calf after recovering from L5 herniation over two years ago. Have tried what I think is EVERYTHING. Yes, tried the potassium -- and massive vitamin doses...

    And yes, getting up and walking on it sure helps.

    One thing that DOES help it, I noticed I don't get them after talking an over-the-counter sleeping pill (take them once or twice a month), or after enjoying a bottle of wine (perhaps a little too much... ;-). It can't be muscle related but neurological; I sure hope those 16 neurontins a day start to help soon...

    Who woulda thunk that the silly L5 would cause muscle spasms and cramping...?
  • Since my surgery istated with bad cramps and spasams in my feet angles legs and knees. Doc put me on keppra and knocked them out. onlymed that has given me rekief. still suffer with leg and feet pain
  • For muscle spasms try Soma which is a muscle relaxer. It is one of the most used muscle relaxers and works great. You can get it at: nowhere.com
    My friend is in the pharmacy business and she is the one that actually told me about this medication and how well it works. Thought I'd pass it along to help someone.
  • I USE to suffer with severe leg cramps and spasms all over my body until I found out that drinking water stops them. It seems when I get the least bit dehyderated the cramps start. My brother-in-law was also troubled with them until he started drinking water at my advice.
    I had to start getting B12 injections and wonder of wonders the leg cramps stopped along with ringing in my ears and excessive sweating.
    I have had a blood test and it showed my B12 was fine UNTIL i got a very expensive blood test ordered by my Neuro(over $1000.00)
    Thank goodness for that expensive blood test. The B12 injections cleared up all those annoying problems plus I feel so much better now. Not always so very tired. Now I get an injection every month and will never miss one.
    Perhaps this bit of information will help some of you.....Sure hope so. These darned things are sooooo painfull!!
    Hugsssssssss >:D<
    Patsy W
  • It's so refreshing to see that I'm not the only one who goes through this day in and day out. I had an arachnoid cyst T12-L3 operated on in 1992 at the age of 19. It was after this surgery that I remember the spasms starting. I have since had another operation on the same relentless cyst in 2005 and the spasms, cramps and pain have gotten worse. Two nights ago I couldn't fall asleep because my right leg was so crazy! I can't even point my toes on my right foot anymore as it will cause a gut-wrenching cramp in my arch, then toes, then ankle... They are more prominent in my right leg, starting mid-hamstring all the way down to my pinky toe, but are most definitely present in my left leg as well. My boyfriend can't sleep in the same bed with me because of the "kicking." I too thought it was potassium or magnesium deficiency or not enough water, too much alcohol, lack of sleep- you name it. What I realized is that there is absolutely NO rhyme or reason to any of it. I have been prescribed Klonepin, Requip, Xanax, Valium..they are great for my anxiety, but nothing helps these spasms. I am 36 years old and have been living with these for almost 18 years. I just had anterior cervical discetomy (C5-C7) and am thankful that none have developed in my arms! Sometimes, when I'm having a really bad cramp or spasm day and I'm feeling sorry for myself, I say I wish that someone could feel what I feel for one day so I could have some empathy. I think I just found it. Thank you! All the best. Thoughts and helpful hints are welcome- I have many too:)
  • Hello, I have a prolapsed disc(S1 effacing) that is 5 years old, about the only current symptom I have is left gastroc cramps and fasiculations. They only happen when I am not weight bearing. I get some mean cramps at night. I have found that b12, minerals and staying well hydrated help. Someone on here said valium helps, well so does over the counter valerian root.I did not elect to get surgery, I did receive 3 ESI's. I also do not take any pain meds unless the sciatica pays me a visit, which doesn't happen much anymore(thank God) BTW did I mention I am a Chiropractor?....I have noticed that not many of my patients with chronic disc problems complain of the calf cramps and twitching. This forum was an interesting find for me....Thanks for the extra insight everyone...
  • Not sure about potassium, but a chemist recommended a magnesium powder for muscle tension. Seems to help a lot. I use MuscleEze.
    Hot baths, muscle relaxants, massage, heat packs, omega 3............
    Can be hard to find the right pain killers, too. I find codeine types help.
  • wow mykol j, 16 neurontins a day, you must get tired of taking so many pills, why doesnt your dr give you a higher dose pill so you can take fewer pills, thats what my dr did. he gave me 600mg pills and told me the max was like 3800mg a day, so you would only be taking like 6 pills. ask him why amybe, is that what dr really prescribed 16 pills a day, wow.
  • I too have spasms from stem to stern.....drinking water does help,when a muscle cramps up it accumulates lactic acid,(which keeps it in cramp mode)the water will "flush" this out,so to speak,and get the blood flowing.Same theory behind therapeutic magnets,they get the blood moving and the muscle starts to relax.Someone mentioned deep breathing to relax,very helpful too.When I feel a spasm coming on,if I act very quickly and keep still and breath deep, I can often times prevent a full blown episode.I look like a whacko when I am doing this at the grocery store,but hey,you gotta do what you gotta do! I truly hope you can find some answers...keep us posted...Sagehen
  • I have constant muscle twitches, wouldn't call them spasms but they're always twitching. All in my arms, shoulders, back and legs.
  • Chronic muscle tension can be caused by a vitamin D deficency. See vitamindcouncil.org for more info. For me, the main symptoms were chronic tension in the neck, shoulders, back and hamstrings. After I started taking an ultra high (50,000 IU/week) dose of vitamin D the symptoms went away.
  • I had my L4-S1 fusion back in october. Once I got home from surgery, I started having nasty spasms in my Left leg, doc put on on Carpisodol, i think that's how you spell it, well it helped. Now for the past two weeks they have returned with a vengence. Now my right leg is spasming as well. I havent done well since surgery. Still having a lot of back pain, and doc doesnt know what's causing it. I go see him again tomorrow. I also have bursitis in my right hip. If anyone has any ideas on how to cope, I would appreciate it.
  • I have been having them without fail every afternoon, evening in both buttocks and the back of both thighs ever since surgery. I have been on robaxin since surgery almost 17 months ago. It didn't really help, so I actually just stopped taking it two nights ago. I will let you know where it goes from there!

    One Love,

  • Wildcat and Stephanie, when you describe muscle twitches/spasms, do you mean along the lines of fasciculation?

    A fasciculation is a small, local, involuntary muscle contraction and relaxation visible under the skin arising from the spontaneous discharge of a bundle of skeletal muscle fibers. Fasciculations have a variety of causes, the majority of which are benign.
    I've had this problem for some time. It's mostly just a nuisance unless they are accompanied with muscle cramps where the muscle feels like its turning itself inside out.

  • Most of the time that is it. Although I do get cramps as well.

    One Love,

  • I have two muscles that have basically been in constant spasm for 2 years now. Ouchie. No solution yet! My doctor said something about trigger point injections.
  • One thing that I found with Robaxin is that it really didn't do anything to stop my cramps. It's great for after the fact when your muscles are really sore from the cramps. I switched to Zanaflex a little over a year ago and it keeps the cramps at bay most of the time. As far as the fasciculation, I haven't found anything to stop that. The twitches don't cause any pain but can be a little uncomfortable because you can still feel everything. It does have an advantage cause your muscles are constantly moving. My calves and ankles are very well defined because of this problem. Now if I could get my abdominal muscles to fasciculate for a couple of months, I'd be set for the pool season.

  • thx julie
    Post. Cerv. Foraminotomy 2 level
    teeth clinching spasms a year post op
    find comfort in heating pad, ice packs, vicocin, soma, ibuproferin, deep breathing exercise, trigger point injections, trigger point massage, alot of stretching & alot of praying it will soon be over....
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