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Low back seizes up?

TiffanyTerrorTTiffanyTerror Posts: 44
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:27 AM in Lower Back Pain
Hey everyone,

So tonight I had another (it has happened about 4 or 5 other times) episode of my back seizing up. I hadn't done anything out of the ordinary, I was just sitting on a couch and I went to stand up and BAM it happened.

I have had plenty of back spasms, and this feels completely different. It only happens when Im going from sitting to standing Ive noticed. Honestly my first initial reaction is "Oh my god my back is breaking" because that is what it feels like. Of course after a second I know its not breaking but my mind jumps to that because of the pain/way it feels. Its weird. Its in my low back and it feels like it literally locks together and I can't stand up or sit back down..but even stopping and staying in the position I get stuck in is bad...it just stays locked up and like one very long intense spasm or something.


Like I said I have had hundreds of regular spasms but this is different. Has anyone else had anything like this? Or know what it is? I don't know if its muscle or what. It feels hard..if that makes sense..like bone or something locking up. Its 10x worse than a regular spasm. After I get my senses when it happens i usually fall back onto the couch/chair and then end up having regular spasms.

Any ideas or experience with this? :/
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Comments

  • Hiya Tiffany, >:D< Yes, i know exactly what you mean ~X( ! It is still back spasms but much worse :S , and yes it does feel like your back is going to break :''( , and when you try to move in any direction the pain is so intense :''( , you can not do it :( . I have the same problem as you :S , but one have my discs has crumbled away :''( , and they have said thats whats making my spasms worse :( . you need to see an orthopedic surgeon :? and you need an MRI so you know what is going on :? ! I hope this helps you in some way :B . Keep me posted :? ! you can also PM me if you want to. :H


    Angie O:)
  • I have this same feeling only it's in my upper back. I had to have my sister lift the lid to the toilet for me during one episode because I couldn't bend to lift it. It lasted at least an hour. We were at the store when it started. That was not a fun ride home.
  • Hi Angie,

    Thanks for responding!

    Yeah it is excruciatingly painful, I am glad that they arent regular, but when they happen..man. Im terrified that it has to be doing some damage or something the way it feels. Im going to talk to my PT about it tomorrow.

    I have seen an ortho surgeon several years ago who offered a disc replacement or fusion, I turned down both because I felt I was too young.

    I had a recent MRI which showed dehydrated disc w/loss of height at l5-s1, discogenic changes of the vertebral endplates, a good size disc bulge with bilateral neural foraminal encroacment.

    So far one doctor has recommended a injection to help the pain so I can lose weight and "strengthen" my abs..the usual. Another doctor said I should get an EMG first.

    I dont know, Im probably going with the EMG first but these really bad spasms are slightly worrying.

    Have you talked with any of your DRs about the bad spasms?

    =)
  • Sometimes the injections will help, because they inject right on the spot :) , so its like taking medication but it goes straight to the point @) . You do need to get an orthopedic surgeon and pain management :) yes i have spoken to the doctors about these spasms :) , they got so bad over christmas the doctor had to come out to me :S It felt like you descibed :SS , like my back was going to break ~X( , he gave me a shot of sedation :''( , so my spine would be totally relaxed I) , i just slept I) Anyway he reffered me back to the orthopedics and i have an appointment on the 27th of this month ~X( .keep me posted! and remember you are not alone >:D<


    Angie :H
  • Please see an orthopedic surgeon >:D< Also get some pain management, they are very helpful :? Do you think you should be working? :/ The pain is also breath taking, isnt it ? :? Keep me posted on how you get on :H


    Angie >:D<
  • As soon as I read the title of your post I knew that you are having problems with your facet joints. There is nothing else like it. Most people refer to it as their back "locking up". It happens to me when sitting and walking. I get stuck in a hunched over position and feel like my back is breaking. Ask your doc to check out your facet joints. Rhizotomy (nerve burn) helps me considerably with this problem. Good luck and please keep us posted.
    BTW- You may want to check the treatments tab for facet blocks and rhizotomy. Let me know if you need more info but I am sure that you have the same problem as I do. Of course, I am not a doc but have been suffering with this for 5 years now.
  • Thank you so much for the info. Its funny because last night I did some more research and found some articles about facet joints "locking up" and I was sure that had to be my problem. It described my symptoms perfectly. Today after my episode yesterday my back is pretty sore, more so than usual. I feel very on edge like the slightest wrong movement could cause spasms (not the locking up, just regular spasms). Does this happen to you after you have the "locking up"?

    I spoke with my PT today and told her it felt like it was locking and how it felt "hard", not like muscle. I explained that it didnt feel like any spasm I have ever had before, that its much more painful, and lasts longer. She still insisted that its a regular spasm, just a "bad" one, and that im sore today because my muscles are tired. Didnt make much sense to me but I will bring it up again with the ortho when I see him next.

    Thanks so much again! :)

    :/ Also...how is this diagnosed? By MRI? I had a very recent MRI and there was no mention of any facet joint problem.
  • After the "locking up" I do have spasms and am sore for a day or so. When I stay on top of the rhizotomy's this does not happen. I am way overdue right now so have been unpleasantly reminded of how painful these episodes can be. Ice 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off gives me a little immediate relief but muscle relaxers are the best anectedote (sp). Check with your PM to see if they offer rhizotomys, if not find one that does. They are a life saver. The only other option is fusion and I will never go there.
    BTW- I have bone spurs and athritis of the facet joints. Let me know how you make out.
    Diagnosis can be made several ways. It can show on MRI but not always. Facet blocks are normally used to see if the pain is coming from the facet joints. You may get temporary relief from these blocks and if so it is a pretty good indicator that they are causing the pain. Do you have a good PM doc? Mine has been a lifesaver. I went for 2 years undiagnosed and prescribed pain meds and told that was all that could be done until I found my PM. The right doc is instrumental.
  • I have also found that lots of times surgeons will not take all of the necessary steps to make a diagnosis. If it is not something major that they can operate on they really do not want to deal with it. But, they are surgeons and that is what they do. Again, I can't say enough how instrumental a GOOD PM can be in diagnosing the cause of your pain if it is not something that is severe enough to show on MRI.
  • TiffanyTerror said:
    Thank you so much for the info. Its funny because last night I did some more research and found some articles about facet joints "locking up" and I was sure that had to be my problem. It described my symptoms perfectly. Today after my episode yesterday my back is pretty sore, more so than usual. I feel very on edge like the slightest wrong movement could cause spasms (not the locking up, just regular spasms). Does this happen to you after you have the "locking up"?

    I spoke with my PT today and told her it felt like it was locking and how it felt "hard", not like muscle. I explained that it didnt feel like any spasm I have ever had before, that its much more painful, and lasts longer. She still insisted that its a regular spasm, just a "bad" one, and that im sore today because my muscles are tired. Didnt make much sense to me but I will bring it up again with the ortho when I see him next.

    I'd suspect a really strong muscle spasm too.
    I've had quite a few of these episodes, and it is almost always after doing sweeping, raking, or a lot of back twisting. Even getting up and down from office chairs can lead to it.
    The spasm is not caused by the last thing you do, that is just the final straw. There would have been a steady build-up towards it.
    I also have problems with the lower spine joints where they meet the pelvis, and they can either lock up or move out of place. Either way it is a steadily worsening back pain, eventually stopping walking. A chiropractor is the only way i know to get these joints freed up.
    With the strong muscle spasms, I now know to take a heap of muscle relaxant and pain killers, and rest.
    It is a terrible happening-can't move, can't sit or lie down, can't use toilet. Every tiny movement planned in advance and taken tentatively.
    You will need to be aware now of a sore back in that region-this will be a warning to rest.
    Avoid twisting and turning the lower back.
    Try to strengthen the muscles.
    A good exercise is to try to pull your navel to your spine, while counting to ten slowly. Do this as often as you can and it will build up your deep abdominal muscles.
    Then, when you are lifting anything heavy, or twisting the back, do the navel to spine muscle movement and hold it while you do the activity.
    The stronger abdominal muscles will take the strain off your spine.
    It really works.
  • Please be very careful with chiros. They actually worsened my condition even though they provided some initial pain relief. I would never see a chiro for anything more than muscle issues (and really even then I would not). Especially if you have real issues of the spine. Facet joint pain will cause severe spasming. Anyone that has issues with the facet joints knows exactly what "locking up" of the back means. It stops you dead in your tracks.
  • for my reply on diagnosis. Be careful of any type of exercise without consulting your doc. What may work well for 1 person with a different issue may not work and possibly worsen your condition. Before I knew that I had facet issues I went to PT which actually made my pain much worse.
  • thanks for starting the thread. I have exactly what you have. I've also posted my thoughts/concerns in another thread that I will bump shortly.

    Thank you to all of the members responses, I can't insist enough on how valuable your responses and experiences are.

    This board is a goldmine :)


  • I injured my lower back in high school doing a power clean in weightlifting; I made it worse hanging drywall for over a year. It will occasionally just seize up for no reason, just as you describe.

    I've found that the BEST thing to stop/alleviate the seizing up is cannabis/marijuana. One small toke (not even enough to feel it) will completely relax my back and within 10 minutes I'm back on my feet and I can slowly start to stretch out my back and get to healing. I've tried everything from pain killers to anti-inflammatory pills, but nothing works as well, as fast, and is as cheap as my friend Cannabis. I know this is a bit "unconventional" but cannabis is a very powerful anti-spasm and anti-inflammatory so it only makes sense that this would do the trick. Luckily I live in a sane state that allows the medical use of it so I don't have to live in pain and fear.

    Peace,
    Z
  • Hello,

    First I want to say I'm so sorry that you have to suffer through that. I know exactly what it feels like as I've been dealing with that since 03/04. I have this happen in both my lumbar and cervical spine, and there are times that my spasms are so severe, they pretty much take over my whole body. It is truly terrible pain.

    I do not necessarily have to do anything for this to come on. I always some spasming, 24/7, and the muscle relaxer I take does help somewhat. Sometimes the very severe spasms seem to come on out of nowhere, other times it's after I've been standing or walking too long, which for me, is not long. Standing more than a few minutes, or walking a few hundred feet.

    The last time I had it extremely severely along with intense nerve pain in my lumbar, sacral and pelvic girdle, my PM set me up for another ESI and actually sent me to a Chiro in his bulding. Mind you I had never gone to a chiro before and really didn't want to, but I was following my PMs orders, since he was a new doc to me. The chiros could not believe the severity and told me I was the worst case of spasms they ever saw. Needless to say, going there was a huge waste of my money. All they did was put a hot towel over my back and give me nerve stim, which I can't stand. Nerve stim/TENS gives me restless legs, makes me twitch adn feel like I'm going to have a seizure. Oh and rubbed BioFreeze on. Anyway, the only thing that helped was having the ESI and time.

    When this happends in my lower back, I literally can't walk, it's excruciating to even stand up. It spreads down my legs and into my feet. THen my ankles/feet/toes start to cramp severely and turn in, then my knees, which will also turn in. It's dreadful. I've had in my cervical spine where my arms spasmed, both hands completely closed up and clenched fingers together, my neck felt as if someone was wringing my neck, my cheeks were being pulled down.

    So I really know what you are going through and how it feels and how horrible it is. I have been told by a few docs that it is spasms and cramping that's very severe. I should note that I have both lumbar and cervical spinal stenosis at multiple levels, disc herniations in both areas, facet joint arthritis, sacroilitis, and some other problems. I've already had lumbar surgery for stenosis in '06, which helped a lot, but I keep getting stenosis all over, including more bone growing again where I had surgery.

    All I can do when this happens is not do much, I'm always keeping moist heating pads on, take my usual meds along with naproxen, ibuprofen, tylenol, and basically just wait over time for the spasms to lessen.
  • Hey bud,

    That sounds like what I've had and worse, you really should just try some cannabis. It's a very strong anti-inflammatory and anti-seizure medicine. It's natural, has no long term side-affects, and the worst effect is that it makes you a little hungry and goofy (heaven forbid!)
  • my boyfriend is 32 and has been having these episodes where his back locks up he says it feels like its tighening up he cant move like he just falls to the ground and has to lay flat its not a constint pain but when he moves it locks up does he says he cant even cough it doesnt hurt when he breaths. i have lidocaine patches on it heating pad ibuprofin nothing is working does anyone know what this is?
  • Peter BPPeter B Posts: 512
    edited 09/13/2012 - 6:07 PM
    Sounds like the common back spasm, when muscles are in stress and lock up to protect the spine.
    Inflammation sets in to help repair things, and this makes everything tight, causing more pain.
    If a spasm, it should gradually ease off. He should think about what he was doing before it happened for a clue on the trigger.
    I'd suggest a visit to a physio to get all of the joints checked out to see if there is a problem somewhere.
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