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malcmmalc Posts: 2
edited 01/07/2013 - 3:11 PM in Lower Back Pain
approximately every three months or so my lower back is hijacked by a powerful, debilatating lower back muscle spasm. The spasm follows a regular pattern and pulls my lumbar spine over to the right thus causing a convex right lumbar scoliosis. This causes my right pelvis to hitch up and my thoracic spine to lean heavily to the left. The spasm seems to hold me in this position for upto four days or so. Then slowly the muscles relax and my posture returns to somewhere near normal. As painful and debilatating as these spasmodic episodes are all my GP ever advises is painkillers, NSAIDS and even Diazepam (to relax the muscles).
Although these episodes have been occuring now for over seven years I have never been able to get a referred for further investigation by either of the two nhs specialists I have visted because I don't have referred (neurological) symptoms.
I have had the Lumbar Spine x-rayed in 2010 and that showed normal joint spacing between the Lumbar vertebrae.It also showed early OA changes on the joint surfaces but again this is regarded as normal 'wear and tear' for someone my age (36yo in 2010). So the x-ray didn't show anything sinister and as such the consultant could not warrent further investigation at this time. On this occaision I found out post appointment that the consultant was an Anethetist and 'Pain Management Specialist'. He discharged me with 'non-specific low back pain' and gave be general advice on activity modification etc.

After a few more episodes I went back to my GP to request a direct referral for an MRI scan with the intention of getting a specific diagnosis. My GP informed me that I had to go through a specialist consultant for MRI investigation and referred me on to a Neurological Surgeon. This time I had all my reflexes (neurology) assesed again and a v.brief observation of my lower back. After a few questions about work and lifestyle I was discharged with Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD) and told I didn't warrent any further investigation unless my symptoms significantly worsened (ie I develop referred pain).

I suffered my first memorable episode of lower back spasm about eight years ago in 2005. Since then I have been to visit various GP's, two nhs consultants, two nhs physios and then a full 'round the houses' private practitioner journey for opinions in a quest to find out why my back behaves the way that it does.
On a private basis over the years I have been examined and treated by various Physiotherapists, Chiropractors, Oesteopaths, musculoskeletal Physical Therapists, Massage Therapists and even a Podiatrist that performed a full static and dynamic biomechanical assessment and prescribed custom orthotics.
All these private practioners, not surprisingly, have different perspectives on what might be going on in my lower back.
It has been described as: non-specific LBP -
Bulging Disc - Degenerative Disc Disease - mechanical low back pain - convex right lumbar scoliosis secondary to a true leg length difference of only 10mm - a well contained disc injury - BUT NOBODY REALLY KNOWS WHAT IT IS.

This quest for an answer has cost a pretty penny over the years and in hindsight it might have been better to save money up for a private MRI scan (about £600?). I have spent hours researching the internet and read numerous books. Eight years on and I am still no nearer knowing what is the cause of my back pain. However I have never tried an internet forum until now.

SO TO WRAP IT UP has anybody got any advice or had a similar experience of the dreaded and persistent lower back muscle spasm ?
I would be most greatful if anybody could help! thanks


  • edited 01/07/2013 - 8:05 PM
    Is there anything that initiates the spasm? What makes it start or stop. Has any of the treatments helped? Do you have any other medical problems? Finally, what do you think is causing it (sometimes subconsciously our bodies tell us things)? Maybe some of your answers will help ring a bell...Jennifer
  • edited 01/07/2013 - 8:05 PM
    Is there anything that initiates the spasm? What makes it start or stop. Has any of the treatments helped? Do you have any other medical problems? Finally, what do you think is causing it (sometimes subconsciously our bodies tell us things)? Maybe some of your answers will help ring a bell...Jennifer
  • joanljjoanl Posts: 44
    edited 01/08/2013 - 4:45 AM
    I have had muscle spasms periodically for many years. I believe mine are a direct result of a bad case of sciatica that has since resolved itself, but left me with a tendency for spasm. So, what I do first thing in the morning is I take a towel and soak it in Hot, Steaming Water. I wring it out quickly to get the water out, but not the steam. Place the steaming towel in a plastic trash bag that I've cut to form a big piece of plastic. I fold the plastic bag over the steaming towel, and place the bag around my lower back and tie it in the front. It feels amazing. The heat penetrates my muscles. But, most importantly, it shocks my back muscles and prevents spasm.
    If you feel at all stiff, achy etc. first thing in the morning, this remedy is amazing. I know that most people swear by a long hot shower. For me, using this hot steamy towel wrapped in plastic (over clothes because it will be real hot and you dont want to burn your skin) works real well because you can move around and make breakfast, coffee etc. and your not restricted. In essence, it a hot pack. I think the steam aspect helps me a lot. The only risk is that you will literally look like a bag lady albeit a "fashionable" one.
    Once my back loosens up I can bend easier etc. etc. Hope this is of some help to you.
  • Davey16DDavey16 Posts: 31
    edited 01/08/2013 - 6:07 AM
    I have had lower back surgery 2 level fusion with decompressions, Going fine until about 3 months post op when trying to get out of bed I was struck down unable to move with severe back spasms around the incision area, This was the worst pain I have had (including surgery) Managed to get to a walk in clinic and was given muscle relaxers/ anti inflammatorys, this is helping and has calmed my back down, I know if I bend wrong or turn over in bed it can set spasms off and I am very mindful of it, I did not take the meds one day and my back felt like it could set off again. Is it possible that during surgery procedure and exposing the vertebrae the muscle has to be disturbed could the spasms be a result of the muscle reawakening. With a month gone since this first occurred my back feels not bad, but unstable enough for me not to attempt anything that may include bending or twisting. I think physio maybe helpful to strengthen my core.
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