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Back / neck spasms

driftwoodddriftwood Posts: 81
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:44 AM in Upper Back Pain, Thoracic
I have been dealing with back and neck pain for about a month now. It all started when I was working out and tweaked something. Went to a chiro 4 times in one week and that seemed to make it worse. His diagnosis was that was completely out of alignment etc. From learning that I also had DDD which turns out not to be too big of a deal at this point (ie, not the cause of the issues.)

I have ended up with PT who as diagnosed me with a pull trap muscle as some neck strain. Furthermore, his explanation is that it is then compounded by bad posture, work habits etc.
My regular doc had also confirmed this as chronic back spasms.

I have been seeing the pt for three weeks and really not feeling any better in term of pain. I am ok if I dont do anything, but as soon as I am worked on, or I try say mowing the lawn, or just stretching I get very sore and am out for two days.

I am not sure what to do anymore or how long this is going to take. I was given Orphenadrine and some other strong anti inflammatory, that I have to take. I don't like taking drugs, cause the scare me.

My frustrations are that I have never been this much pain and inability for so long, and they way things are going not sure when or how long a situation like this takes. I keep thinking that "next week" I should be ok, but it seems to be the same.

Any advice or insight I can get is appreciated.


  • Welcome - this is a great place to get info.

    First off you need to get to an orthopedist or neurologist. Not a surgeon - there is a difference. Chiro is my least favortite. I've seen too many problems and not many good results but that is my opinion. GP might mean well but hasn't really diagnosed anything. My GPs won't even prescribe PT because they are not trained to diagnose these conditions.

    An ortho or neuro can listen to your symptoms and do tests that will determine where your pain is coming from. It might be just muscular but at three weeks + you should have seen some improvement.

    Find a good doctor and make an appointment. In the mean time write down what you feel each day. That way when you go to the doctor you can give him clear and accurate info.
  • thaks for the response. I did see a neuro specialist and said that it was all muscular. He said I did have some Cervical DDD but that was not the cause of this or creating problems etc. My options then were a steroid patch or PT. I chose pt. but checked int with my regular doc who has 30years of sports medicine.

    But thats my concern, I have seen all types and its eems to be muscular but its just not getting better.
  • Howdy Driftwood,

    I see you stated that you have undergone PT. Did they include ice/heat, massage therapy? My hubbies shoulders and neck get tight (you can feel it!) so I massage his shoulders, upper back and neck. Not perfect, but he is happy! :) If it is muscles, remember too your head and neck are constantly moving. If you are hurting, that will add to stress which can make muscles tight. It just may take a while. Please keep us posted.

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • hello Aviatrix,

    hope you are doing well. Saw some of your recent posts.
    Thanks for keeping track :)

    NO they did not include anything, I go in get "treated" alittle, some exercise then thats it. I go usually 1-2 a day. Problem is that I really makes me hurt. I went yesterday and I hurt for two days straight, then its usually the back/neck spasms. At least thats what I am told. Its frustrating since I can't do anything.

    I am thinking of taking the muscle relaxers and anti inflammatory that I was given by the regular doc. Its just frustrating that i am not really "improving."
  • Howdy Driftwood,

    Just came out of my pool, so feeling "pretty good", thanks. :-) Yeah, my spine is not my friend of late, but trying to work with it to have a bit of normal? Thanks so much for your comments. *hug*

    I was sent for PT about 3 months ago, and due to what they did I was in "tearing" "crying" pain for 3 days. Nope, I did NOT return. My surgeon was in agreement with my decision, and I could tell he wasn't happy with what all they did. They pulled on my neck and did twisting, totally contrary to what his prescription instructions stated! I did research on the Internet for "aqua therapy" I could do in my pool for my entire spine, and he loved it and cleared me to do it! I am pretty tired right now, but I beat myself up pretty good! (smiles....)

    Is there anyway that your doctor can get you with another therapist? If I could rub ya down I would, muscles can be a real bear! Please don't give up. I have found (almost coying TV okay?) that sometimes our bodies know more than us, and I have to be the "ankle bitter" to get what I need. Keep after them if you can Driftwood. Support *HUGZ* for ya!!!

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Just like anything there are good and bad PTs. Also they have different specialties. And different approaches.

    My post micro-D PT consists of electric stim and heat, exercises to loosen up and build up muscles and then a 10 minute massage by the therapist. Depending on how hard he works I might have some extra aches the next day but nothing too bad so far.

    My daughter has severe muscle spasms in her neck. They won't do stim since she is only 13 but they start with heat. Then exercise and the stretching and massage by PT. Sometimes she is very achy after.

    I think what they do depends on which muscles. My therapist also believes in a little hurt to make progress but if it hurts too much he changes what he does.

    Try another PT. They can do alot but muscles are so stubborn. I'm beginning to think this is a life long problem that I just have to deal with.
  • The therapist is the best around apparantly. He can do Dry needling, manipulations, pt etc. He seems to know what he is doing. After the last time he worked on me I told him how sore I was etc and he changed tactics. This last time he put me on a traction thingimabob (its the official name.) Then after that I was and am sore for two days. Today I was in much much pain. The regular doc has given me pain pills and muscle relaxors and told me to keep at the PT.

    I have yet to take the muscle relaxor, today took one anti inflammatory. Seems to help. Drugs freaaak me out. But I am in alot of pain.

    It just feels like everytime someone messes with it, the muscles spasm up bad. And am thinking have been to so many different people that I should just leave it be for a month and heal. Then start pt.

    Perhaps I am rushing this? Its been a month. So am not really sure how long this takes if its just a pullled trap, sprained neck, etc.

    Sorry for the rambling, alittle bit of a mess upstairs at the moment. As soon as I start to feel better it comes back.

    I am thinking to call the PT up and ask him why this is happening and if its normal to feel like this every other day. If I am supposed to be getting betther then why not? Also, am not sure if I should b taking drugs (other then the fact that they scare me) from one doc and doing pt with another doc.


    Brenda, thanks again. For the hugs.

    Kris, thanks for the response. Yeah, the muscles seems to be so stubborn.

  • You're very welcome for the hugs!! :-) As for rambling, not a problem on this site. We ALL do it here and there, it kind of goes with the territory I think! *wink*

    Muscles are funny critters Driftwood. If whatever is causing them to tighten up isn't released, then the problem might not go away. I use to have that problem in my lower back (pre issues), and my chiropractor found that I was ever so slightly "off" on my alignment and as such, stressing out my back as I stood and walked without a balance of "muscle use" in my lower back. He tweaked me, then the roller bed, some EMS/TENS, heat and ice and I was good to go after like 2 weeks (3x a week then).

    My hubby did a bunch of work with a jack hammer, and he was a hurting digit. He "toughed" it out for like 2 weeks and everything got tight! I massaged him, iced/heated him, didn't help a lot. He finally went in and got treatment and was good to go in like a week or so. Basically he was sitting funny and as such keeping stressor's on his back, and once a pro worked on him, he was good. He sits better now, tries not to stay in one position too long etc. He has been "good to go" for a while.

    Can it take a while to heal muscles? Yes Driftwood, unfortunately it can. Since you seem comfortable with the knowledge and skills of your PT guy, maybe a good chat with him (and if you write this down and bring it in, might help more) to see if more can be done that benefits you more? Some folks (like me) bring diagrams to show what hurts, can't feel etc., and a typed out detailed brief on what I feel. Others find that keeping a diary if you will of when things hurt, what seems to help etc. If you bring this with you, you are less apt to forget something that might be 'key' to a good course of action to help you. Wadda think? Chat again soon. *hug*

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Brenda you had me chuckling about your diagram. My daughter just uses pen to make X on her skin where it hurts. More than one doctor has just stared at her!

    How ever you do it you need to be able to accurately tell the professionals where it hurts. Fastest way to turn off a doctor or PT is to say it hurts all over.
  • my son does alot of training in mma. when ever he has a muscular injury he swears by regular deep tissue massages performed by a licensed message therapist. he says it always helps him heal faster. muscular injury s can take up to 2 mths to resolve. have patience and best of luck to you!
  • I think that is the main thing, trying to figure out what is causing these spasms. Or its just a matter of healing the pulled trapezius and whatever is wrong with the neck.

    I think I may well try these drugs. And the deep tissue message. That has been recommended a few times, so it may be a good thing.

    THANKS :)
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