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trapezius muscle spasms normal???

catccat Posts: 29
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:55 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Is it normal to have muscle spasms at 11 weeks post acdf...having constant tightness in trapezius and I'm scaared it won't go away...taking PT but no relief yet. It seems I should be feeling less tightness by now...my surgeon says it's because the bones haven't fused yet but there is no guarantee it will ever go away....When I say is it normal I mean do most people have it or am I off the charts? Thanks for the help.


  • It is absolutely normal. I'm still having the spasms and I'm completely fused. My traps have weakened so much that if I overdo it I pay for it. Does heat help at all? It should help temporarily and doing trigger point on yourself should also help. Good luck!
    2011 ACDF C5-6 for Spondylosis with Myleopathy
    2012 L4-5 herniated disc and hernated disc at C4/5 2013 Taking Amitriptyline for headaches
  • Well I haven't had the surgery yet and I get those same spasms. I suffered for three months straight. PT took a while to do any justice. I couldn't move my neck or any thing, total upper body stiffness.
  • My traps have actually loosened a lot but its my mid back muscles (flexors or extensors whatever they are called) those are awful, driving me to tears!
    ACDF C4-5 June 23rd, 2011

    Another surgery in the near future. I am 26 years old.

    Current Meds- Norco 7.5/325, Cymbalta 60mg, Gabapentin, Adderall 20mg
  • Completely normal, I am a year post op from the last surgery and still suffer from spasms, even with a muscle relaxer on board. You might want to look at the video on myofascial pain syndrome and see if that fits any of your symptoms. Also PT will take a bit of time to do some good. Remember to measure your success in weeks not days, and sometimes we have set backs.

  • Thanks...I had to see my pcp today for something else...she said she did not know much about fusions but thought I shouldn't be having spasms still at 11 weeks and certainly not be on a muscle relaxant. Her comments really shook me on my drive home....I don't think she knows much about fusions at all, but she had me second guessing my progress.
    Not a good feeling. Thank goodness for this forum.

  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,856
    Not to worry
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • I had a neck herniation C7-T1 (conservative therapy, no surgery thank God), but every now & then those trapezius muscle can act up. I found a trick, a tennis ball in a long crew sock - you can literal pound out spasm by placing the tennis ball between your spasm & a flat wall - you will know when you find the spasm - deep breathes as you roll & press over that spasms. Yes it hurts, but those spasms for me are almost always gone by the am. I always make sure I drink a full 16 oz water because this "release" of spasm does cause a significant amount of lactic acid flow to be released in your blood stream.
    A second option, if that doesn't work, is a pain doc can do trigger point injections or Botox injections.
  • It's "normal" if one of the nerve branches was injured/trapped, scarred... by the surgery, "damaged" by impact of an injury, etc.

    Because of the complex anatomy of the Accessory Nerve, docs can not seem to find the source of my hellish, relentless, painful, life-changing "normal" Trapezius muscle condition.

    Here's best image I've found of the Accessory Nerve orgin:


    The Accessory Nerve enervates the trapezius. The Accessory Nerve is formed by over a dozen smaller nerve roots coming together from out of multiple C-spine vertebra levels. Having an injury to any of those roots could cause Trapezius spasms and pain.

    I have had hellish, stabbing, "electric claw" pain and non-stop spasms in my left Trapezius since a large, tall woman fell on me (I was sitting and she was walked by and tripped over her feet and fell on me...). Since I had had (very successful!!!) c-spine fusion in the past (a year before she fell on me), it is hard for the radiologists to clearly "see" from my film studies/MRS, etc. because nothing is "normal" in my spine. (I've also had a numb lower-left leg and weak left outer foot/ankle since she fell on me, but that's another issue related to a nerve in my lumbar spine that was injured when she on me...)

    Since the screws, rods, etc. are all in place, the docs just pat themselves on the back and congratulate themselves on their fabo hardware. Meanwhile I am living in hell, and nothing has helped (yes, all variety of injections, medications, therapy, trigger-point, all things modern medicine (I even tried Acupressure!) , etc. has been tried...)

    I go around constantly lifting up my left (affected) arm/shoulder up by holding my left elbow in my right hand and pushing up with my right hand, to take pressure off whatever is putting pressure on the nerve. Also, a large patch of skin on my neck (left side same as spasm) between my chin, ear and shoulder is numb since the "falling woman" episode. One would think that perhaps the fact that the numb neck and the Trapezius spasms began at the same time of accident, thad that may be the level, C2-3) to be really looked at?

    Perhaps the fact that it is Workman's Comp (accident happened at work) makes docs less eager to really try?

    If any physicians out there have suggestions, let me know.

    It is not "normal," really, but is "normal" if you have such an injury, either post-op or from an accident...

    "Trapezius muscle spasms normal"? I think it is a "normal bad outcome" that may get better, but may not. I'd have the docs look closer to try to see where the nerve root (find the "one" among twelve possibilities?) is being "squished or such."

    I hope all of you do eventually get well.
  • I've the same issue, surgery one year ago, fused c 5/6 now the spasms are so bad I have seen my surgeon, waiting for MRI, several times a week massage and pain meds. Not helping. I am picking u my left arm , cannot use it effectively. My left shoulder is puled up about 2 inches higher than the right. Feels like an ie oick between shoulder blade.
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