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Muscle spasms around abdomen / chest

jellyhalljjellyhall Posts: 4,373
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:58 AM in Upper Back Pain, Thoracic

I was wondering if others with thoracic spine problems also get spasms around their abdomen / chest area when moving into certain positions.

Three times in the last week, I have had severe spasms that have made me stop in my tracks and try to stretch slightly to make them ease away.

The things that have caused these spasms are;
Twisting round to reverse into a parking space,
Bending over sideways slightly to pick something off the floor while I was seated,
Twisting on the toilet!

The spasms are just below my bra strap level.

I wonder if there is anything that I can do to improve things and make it less likely that I get them.

(I do often get tightening around my abdomen / chest area, but these spasms are very severe.)



  • j.howiejj.howie Brentwood, Ca., USAPosts: 1,730
    Really works well on my muscle spasms. Tried and true. But the p.m.Dr.said he would rather try something different. I don't know? I always say if it ain't broke..don't fix it! But he's the boss!
    Click my name to see my Medical history
    You get what you get, not what you deserve......I stole that from Susan (rip)
    Today is yours to embrace........ for tomorrow, who knows what might be starring you in the face!
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,422
    ...but yeah...I have like severe uncontollable movements from chest and abdomen..as if my body is trying to do sit ups...even if I'm walking or sitting..whatever.

    Difficult to explain, but I can be anywhere..doing anything and it's like my body wants to fold up onto itself.

    I would love to know what that is. My doc said it was my anxiety..but I don't think so. It happens when I'm alone..with people...happy ...or struggling.
    Circumstances don't seem to matter.

    Thanks for this post. I'd love to learn something I can do to relieve or at least lessen the occurance of this involuntary and quite obvious movements.

    Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • Muscle spasms are one of my biggest problems and I have them in the middle of my back around to stomach and ribs. I take 1/2 of a Flexeril at night or I can't sleep from the throbbing. Also use a heating pad and try to stay hydrated too.

    Silly me running a chainsaw today cuttin down trees and then splitting the wood too. DUH

  • I often use heat on my neck and it provides relief.
    I'll try using it around my thoracic area too. I am probably lucky in that I don't have pain all the time in the thoracic spine - just occassional pain that doesn't last very long and fairly frequent tightening, mostly on the left side.

    It is moving into certain positions, especially twisting or bending sideways that causes these extreme, stop you in your tracks, cramping spasms.

    I notice that you fell from a tree.
    I also fell from a tree, many years ago, when I was 7.
    I do wonder if that could be something to do with all my spine problems now. I also fell from about 8-10 feet and was unconcious for a short time.

    Have you had surgery?

  • I just had chest pain with severe muscle spasms last week. I could barely breathe. Wound up in the hospital overnight because they feared MI. They started in my back around T12 and radiated on both sides. I have never had such pain. MI was ruled out. MD said it was a ruptured disc. I am not fully recovered. Everytime I try to get up and start moving around the spasms hit again. I become nauseated.Anyone who has never had this doesn't know how severely this hurts.
  • Welcome to Spine Health (I see this was your first post) :H

    This is a great place for information and support from others going through spinal problems.

    I'm sorry to hear that you have a ruptured disc which has caused so much pain. It sounds like it has improved. What do the doctors propose to do? Perhaps they are going to wait to see if it heals itself.

    Were you aware of what caused the disc to rupture?
    I don't really have an idea of when I damaged my thoracic spine, but as I have a lot of degeneration throughout my spine, it may just be genetic. I have also been told that as I was double jointed as a child, that could have contributed to my spine problems.

    Look after yourself, and I hope that you continue to improve and heal.

  • I didn't fall from a tree, I just missed most of the stairs after slipping at the top and landed on my tailbone.
    I'm always trying to figure out what causes the spasms to get worse but I always have tight muscles around the whole area plus a lump of muscles to the right of my spine. Raking or pulling something seems to be bad.
    Nausea is another symptom I have but doctors can't figure out why I have that.
    Many doctors have told me "no operation" unless I start losing my faculties or show signs of paralysis.
    I forgot to mention that Medical Marijuana can also help muscle spasms and it's good for nausea too.
  • All the same issues that you are having with the thoracic spine I too am having. I feel like I'm going to break into sometimes, and the spasms around my ribs are miserable. I take soma, but it is not very effective. I still have severe lumbar/SI pain, so I feel very overwhelmed trying to manage the pain. I did not know that I had thoracic problems until I was about 6 months postop PLIF. After complaining for a year and a half, I had a new MRI last month, and my surgeon told me that I had many DDD along the thoracic spine. three discs are very bad. He did not recommend surgery because it is just so invasive and he believes that the results are questionable. For me, I agree but think that it is important for my doctors to now help me manage the pain appropriately.

    Thoracic pathology is difficult and a bit scary. I'm sorry that you are struggling with it yourself, but it sounds like the symptoms that we are both having are fairly typical for the area involved. I do know that osteoporosis is many times the cause of the thoracic pathology, and my bone density has decreased by 15% over the last 3 years, which is statiscally significant for DDD.

    Take care, Jelly. Happy holidays!


  • I don't know what my bone density is, but I have been put on calcium and Vitamin D supplements because my levels were very low.

    Let's hope that we both manage to just tick along without things getting any worse.

    Have a great Christmas!

  • Hi,

    I have finally gotten an MRI done on my thoracic after going through five cervical surgeries, front and back. I continued to have upper midback pain and my neck guy kept saying it was referred pain from my C6/7. NOT! I went to my GP and insisted on an MRI and went to a thoracic surgeon yesterday to find out I have three bulging discs at T5/6/7. It's weird how you have to scream to get a new diagnosis when you've had lumbar and cervical and the surgeons want to just stay on those.

    My stomach muscles will just lock down and cramp on me. I have to stand up and bend backwards to get it to stop and then sometimes, it will start right back. Pretty rough when you're riding in a car. My ribs have been so sore too! I feel like it's hard to breathe. I DO NOT WANT TO EVER SNEEZE again!!! Sneezing kills me and so far, I haven't got the pain backed off very much. The new surgeon is sending me for PT and gave me some cream to try topically. No one said what was it in. It was a mixed cream in a tiny jar. They said I could get a full deal if it helped me. So far today, It's not helped any.

    Lumbar hurts, neck hurts, but thoracic makes you hurt more all over and feel like crap or the flu. :)

    I had flexiril but have ran out, then got Robaxin and have run out of that too. I only have some Zanaflex for muscle spasms and it's one of those that if you don't take it regularly, it can cause more spasms for some reason.

  • Boy do i feel at home here! Finally some people that have the same problem as me. My spasms are severe,my spine bends backwards,i look like i'm doing a bridge but unfortunately not on purpose,my muscle tighten up so badly that i can't breath,my therapist had to stretch and massage my stomach muscles because the spasms were so bad that my diaphragm was stuck in place to my ribs causing it hard for me to breath.I also get the tightening in my mid section and stomach that i'm bending forwards doing a sit up.I'm taking baclofen but when the spasms start it doesn't make them stop. I don't seem to have a particular trigger, the last time i went for a massage the spasms started and every time he went near my spine they would get worse. Hard to relax when being touched triggers the spasms. My doctor has no idea whats causing them either.
  • I have a long-standing thoracic spine injury and suffer from terrible spasms around my bra strap area and they seize me up right around my chest so that I can barely breathe or stand up straight. They are so frightening! At least now I don't feel so alone . . . . I've had so much pain this week - my muscles are just so tight and can't relax - it feels like my back is going to snap. Had this pain since I was 27 and I am now 50 and am so fed up of it all :(
  • i am 21 years old and had a L5/S1 fusion sept 13, 2011. stopped my leg pain foot tingling and numbness. i have degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis, and retrolisthesis. now i am experiencing, excruciating thoracic pain. mine feels the same way some of your guys feels. chest pain rib pain shoulder pain and severe migraines..i am too young for this not only is it affecting me physicically but mentally its depressing me because i have a 1 year old and it takes everything i have just to make it through the day takn care of her..i had a mri on my thoracic spine last wednesday will know results monday the 23rd..on another i seen where a lumbar fusion could cause this pain in the upper part said the L4/L5/S1 was connected in some way. im just wondering if surgery has affected my thoracic? i agree with you guys i feel like my back is gonna break into and causes nausea and with a 1 year old it makes it really hard on me
  • i am 21 years old and had a L5/S1 fusion sept 13, 2011. stopped my leg pain foot tingling and numbness. i have degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis, and retrolisthesis. now i am experiencing, excruciating thoracic pain. mine feels the same way some of your guys feels. chest pain rib pain shoulder pain and severe migraines..i am too young for this not only is it affecting me physicically but mentally its depressing me because i have a 1 year old and it takes everything i have just to make it through the day takn care of her..i had a mri on my thoracic spine last wednesday will know results monday the 23rd..on another i seen where a lumbar fusion could cause this pain in the upper part said the L4/L5/S1 was connected in some way. im just wondering if surgery has affected my thoracic? i agree with you guys i feel like my back is gonna break into and causes nausea and with a 1 year old it makes it really hard on me
  • Just remember even if you get bad pain then go to doctor or do yoga treatment..

    Thank You
  • I am NOT ALONE!!!

    I am suffering so badly right now I wanted to get a 12 gauge shotgun & blow my guts out to stop the pain. I was injured in Baghdad over 5 years ago falling on a staircase while running full tilt from a mortar attack...kept working for a year till I could no longer even get food from the D-Fac. My first lawyer threw me under the bus, he WON(???) me my left knee surgery, but they DENIED my spinal cord injury as "pre-existing" despite a full 10 hour physical to even be able to work in a war zone! Still working my way through the courts...I just suffer suffer suffer suffer suffer....& have grown to hate hate hate to the point where I want to cause physical harm to those who have caused this agony in me. The spasms/cramps start in one rib and cascade sometimes for HOURS all the way around my ribcage, abdomen, upper back & lower back & even upper groin...the pain is unbelievable!

    Came back from Kuwait City with MRI's straight from Baghdad showing 10 or so messed up discs in my lumbar & cervical & a massive knee injury...but after reading this, I highly suspect I have several problems in my thoracic region too. In the last 5 years of fighting AIG....i HAVE PAID FOR MANY mri'S...NOW i NEED A NEW LEFT KNEE, SURGICAL REPAIR ON THE RIGHT, AND WHO KNOWS HOW MUCH SURGERY TO MY BACK...NO REAL NEUROLOGIST HAS TAKEN CARE OF ME THIS ENTIRE TIME...IT IS A LIVING HELL...HAVE NOT WORKED SINCE 2008 & WHAT THE HELL CAN i DO ANYWAY...CANNOT SIT, STAND OR WALK for any length of time..WHAT THE HELL ELSE IS THERE???

    Just noticed the damn caps lock was on...not gonna re-type this. Gonna call my orthopedic surgeon tomorrow to order me an MRI (paid out of pocket of course) of my Thoracic spine...

    Thank you people...you have NO idea how it feels to know SOMEONE has an inkling of the pain & that I am not alone!!!!
  • for posting on our site and please keep returning and letting us know how you are! When i read your post i was speechless. I know how much pain i'm in sometimes and i can't imagine how you get by from one day to the next. In those bad times i just say to myself just take it one day at a time because if i lump them all together it really gets overwhelming. I hear you when you say that the spasms don't stop, i have many many days like that ,my muscles around my ribs spasm so badly that it causes me to have a hard time breathing. My hips and legs hurt all the time and my bladder goes into spasms almost daily. So your right there are lots of people on here going through the same sort of hell.
    I was in a car accident ,i had already suffered a spinal cord injury due to herniated discs in my neck and then after my accident i started to get worse again. Went through testing through the insurance co. and they said i could do things at my own pace and would pay out only minimal for me. I got a lawyer because my doctors i was seeing kept saying there was more going on but none of them would involve themselves in an accident case. Only my physio would say anything to them. Which helped some but only a bit. My surgeon who did my neck surgery told me over the phone that in his opinion i suffered a spinal cord concussion in the accident but because it was over the phone my lawyer couldn't use that statement.So i ended up getting more then they first wanted to give me but far from what i really needed to help repair myself. I've been paying out of pocket for a while now and more and more things keep coming up and i always wonder if it was because of the accident.
  • Hello Again,

    I appreciate hearing from you, & please know..I am sooooo sorry you are suffering like this, I KNOW exactly what you are talking about!

    Sooo, what can we do...reading the above comments, I have come to the conclusion that surgical intervention is out of the question for the thoracic region. I can say that I had these for years, and then got re-hab from a great guy who is a PhD here in San Antonio & out of the goodness of his heart he adjusted my spine, not invasive like a chiropractor, but very well anyway! He solved my cramps for the last 18 months but unfortunately they have come back even worse than before!!!!

    I have stuck with it & the DOL has ruled in my favor, but AIG DISPUTES IT (of course) SO i WILL BE GOING TO TRAIL AGAIN. IT IS MY LAST CHANCE.


    Damn Caps lock!

    The judge made his decision against me & called me a liar over & over again in my case even though there was no evidence to contradict me & there were no other witnesses to my accident! My lawyer deserves to rot in hell. I want to say how I really feel about him, but I will receive a knock on my door by law enforcement if I did ;-)

    Stay strong & God Bless.


  • I read your post and nodded yes to your movements that increase muscle spasms. My sweet 23 year old daughter was here yesterday doing my housework and showed me a hilarious web site. We laughed and laughed until I realized that even that was flaring muscles. I am recovering from a fall 3 weeks ago as well. I was walking my dog on a grassy area when the ground beneath me gave way to mud. I was flat on the ground with my sweet pooch looking at me like, oh no here we go...
    Baclofen has been making me nauseated and my dosage of Neurontin as well. They are effective but things are just plain rough right now.
  • I began having horrible thoracic muscle spasms that now are radiating around to my upper stomach. Does anyone have any suggestions besides using heat to relieve this?
  • Did exactly the same thing, twisted my body to the left 'cause this stupid driver nearly backed into me. I had just been to the physio so was fairly annoyed, felt my spine go out, incredible pain, to say the least. As you know myT5 is wedge crushed to the right so if I bend or twist to the left my T4 comes out to the right as there is nothing to hold it in place.

    My physio has told me always to bend to the right when I do anything like put the dishes into the dishwasher - raking is agony - even looking at the rake, but if you only have pain to the left maybe you have damage to the left of your spine so I would give a go at leaning and twisting to the left while you are doing things and it might not dislodge and muscle spasm your spine.

    A simple thing like this has really made a difference for me as I did not realise how much I bent to the left and continually dislodged my T4 to the right.

    T9 my MRI looks exactly the same as yours except mine is 80% crush to T5. Instead of my T5 crushing to the front (it usually crushes to the front with oesteoporisis I think) it crushed to the right and the T4 above has nothing, or only 20% of T5 to hold it in place consequently my T4 continually slips out to the right.

    As yours was caused by trauma, from stairs, mine motorbike - did you take most of the impact of the fall on one side? They didn't pick it up on the MRI , my muscles to the right of my spine are in constant spasm without muscle relaxants, so if you mainly have pain on one side you may have done the same thing as me and your T9 vertebrae may be wedge crushed on one side.

    It took 8 years for someone to realise - don't know why it didn't show up on the MRI. Hope this isn't too messy or I have made it more complex than it needs to be, so if you PM me I may be able to explain a bit better.

    Happy Christmas and New year from the other side of the world where it's summer. Sometimes go to the beach for a swim on Christmas day but this year will be sitting on a balcony looking at the ocean with my family. Hope you guys have a great time round the fire - when I lived in the UK we always roasted chestnuts on the open fire on Christmas day.
  • Its going on 9 months from my surgery and the 6 screws in my lower back. My doctor seams like he doesn't want to see me much any more because when I go to see him I am asking why do I still have Muscle spasms around abdomen. Its messing up my sleep and they can hit at any time and in the morning they are so bad they are freezing me when I try to walk. I asked why if you knew this would happen did you not tell me about this. I don't get much answers out of him. So, does any body have a fix for this, its driving me nuts. what works better? a muscle stimulator or a nerve stimulator or a dual one, muscle or nerve stimulator.
    george binkley
  • I get spasms so bad i call them constrictions. Usually in my back, stomach thighs. These happen at the slightest odd turn or when i try to relax. What seems to have helped me  is magnesium. Give it  a try  and i helped me with chocolate cravings  too 

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