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Shortened Muscles

ZackZZack Posts: 269
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:44 AM in Recovering from Surgery
Is anyone recovering from muscles that have shortened following surgery? If so, how are you treating it? And do you know if shortened muscle is the same as muscle spasm? Or do they go hand in hand?


  • Typically shortened muscles should be gently stretched with the stretch sustained for periods of time. Ex would be heel cords that would allow you to raise your foot. One would wear an ankle brace that would hold your ankle in position and over time the brace would be adjusted until the desired range of active motion is achieved.

    Spasms can lead to shortened muscles. A spasm isn't permanent and is dynamic (changing)and treatable.

    A shortened muscle is fixed ie, it doesn't move more despite how hard you try.

    Hope this is helpful, I am incredibly tired from the holiday weekend :) and my brain is very fuzzy as I haven't been using it much.

    Feel free to pm me if you need more info. :0
  • thx for the reply
    you are pretty knowledgable with the medical mo jo & I think you can help me out here
    I have been stretching since April, which marked my 1 yr anniv. post surgery. Seems as though I got a frozen shoulder & neck - loss of lordosis due to myospasm - in your opinion, is stretching & massage therapy the only thing for turning this around? Or is this something that I will have a problem with the rest of my life?
    appreciate it
  • Well, I definately think with hard work and a good therapist you can work through this.

    I would hate to see anyone have a frozen shoulder permently! That would include a risk of so many other complications.

    Therapists are like physicians, there are tons of them, all with different skill sets and experience levels.

    If yours doesn't have experience in this area, find another. Therapists are used to explaining their skill sets to patients and if one is hesistant, I would quickly be out the door.

    On the other hand, a therapist may tell you honestly that she doesn't have much experience, but has a mentor who is willing to work with her! That can often be a win-win as you get 2 therapists for one! Ha! :)

    Have you tired TIRR? I think that is where I might begin as they have several locations and specialize is spinal cord.

    Best of luck, it won't be easy, but you can do it! You are fiercely strong!
  • Therapists do have specialties. They also have personalities and bills and cranky office staff - lol. Usually when we get to PT we just accept them no matter what. Don't be afraid to shop around. And don't be afraid to ask questions. If you don't like the answers or they don't make sense it's time to hit the road.
  • I had NO post op instructions period! Because of the lack of it, I feel that is why I am in this predicament. One PT said my muscle was frozen, 6 mos post op, & he couldn't even find it to work on it. I saw an ortho guy for an injection, 9 mos post op & he sent me to the Y sports med therapy & called it a "trap strain", & said to get aggressive stretching. This whole journey has been confusing beyond insane. I am extremely naive to the medical field, as I am liscensed to practice real estate. Feel like such an idiot.
    thx again & would love any advise
  • Julie,

    I don't believe this is the same thing. Shortened for whatever reason is one thing. Having muscle spasms though can be several things.

    A spasm is a sudden, involuntary contraction of a muscle or a group of muscles. If it is allowed to continue and not dealt with then you can possibly get muscle knots. This is where muscles end up being continually on, as they say.

    I had spasms after surgery. Muscles in my back draped around and over the screws and rods. When I would go to lay down I would get these crazy spasms. They would subside after a few minutes but crazy intense at first. From that perspective I guess you could say my muscles are now too short since they have to go around the hardware. They are not happy about this. 6 months post op I still feel the tightness. Stretch daily helps a lot. I'm no longer seeing a PT for that. Will be seeing a Massage Therapist just to help with calves and hamstrings. They are tight all the time.

    Before surgery when I had lots of nerve pain from the bad disc. My IT Band on my left leg was constantly on. It formed knots. Getting these stretched was horrible. Not to mention it wouldn't last. Since it never turned off. That pain relief from surgery alone is big.

    I agree with Kris too. If you see a PT and they are not professional, work well with you, help you, and are polite. Go somewhere else. There are plenty out there. At least in larger cities.

    Don't feel like an idiot. This is not our specialty. It is our problem... You know that saying about the only stupid questions being the ones you don't ask...

    It's sad to see these surgeons who leave patients with no real useful post information. Considering what they are charging for their services. At the very least some basic info their PA could review with the patient.

  • Very sad of surgeons to leave patients with no real useful information. If they could just send us home with a piece of paper of do's & don'ts. All I got was a form the hospital gave me, before they threw me out of recovery room 1 hr following surgery, & it said to apply ice for first 24 hrs, and if you get a fever, call them. And to top it off, when I called surgeon to ask questions, they didn't want anything to do with me & said "your surgery was successful & to expect a full recovery". Not even "good luck" or are you doing okay"!
  • I see you took off your signature about your next surgery for T2 fusion, and about the Horners disease. Why don't you put all that back in, maybe on a few lines spread out because your story is something that could possibly happen to someone else. Like me, I think I have Horners as well. What part of your eyes changed?
    Ive been wanting to tell you that Im sorry for all you are going through. Just havent felt good enough to give you a pat on the back. ; )
    All because of a auto accident. Must be tough, but you deal with it so well. Hats off to you, my friend.
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