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Please Help - 7+ Years Chronic Muscle Spasm all over back - 33 years old

arm8maarm8m Posts: 5
edited 05/05/2015 - 10:26 PM in Chronic Pain
I am looking for any insight anyone has into my condition as the doctors certainly don't I am currently 33, when I was 26 I tore my labrum in my right shoulder playing basketball. The surgery seemed to go ok until about 6 months out I started to feel this tightness in my legs, it then radiated up into my back and the entire back seemed to send out messages to all of the muscles there to tighten up as much as they could. I have basically been dealing with this same thing for seven years. One of my doctor said my back was as tight as he's seen and that some people have offed themselves who have this kind of an issue. There is no real explanation for it still. I have tried it all from PT to botox and just about everything under the sun including a 4K decompression treatment. Currently I get dry needled and trigger points. Has anyone had this kind of unexplained turn in the state of your back muscles and has anything worked? Right now I am thinking of trying the spinal cord stimulator just to see what the results would be. I don't know what is causing the muscles to get so tight all the time but often it feels like a vise every week. Thanks for listening, welcome any insight.

John B.


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
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    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • Have you had an MRI or CT scan? You mention nothing about this ?
    A spinal nerve stimulator works on nerve pain,I've never heard of it been used for muscle spasm all over the back?

    Facet joint Arthritis L3,L4,L5,DDD.
  • Thanks for your comment, sorry left that out, yes tons of mris all over back everything relatively normal. We even did a muscle biopsy with no real results there.
  • I'm so sorry. I suffer from bad spasms & muscle problems. It can be so painful. I'm very lucky the Botox works for me when combined with the stretches & gentle yoga breathing & more stretches. The only thing I do that you haven't mentioned is specialist massage & aromatherapy massage oils. I really don't think they would help enough to do much without the Botox but it could be worth trying just to take the edge off. Ugh!! I'm so sorry.

    I know that since my pain has been reasonably managed I only have this problem in predictable areas...where there's underlying structural damage. Have you had moving X-rays, weight bearing MRI's etc or just the regular laying still diagnostics?

    Like Pinkella I've only heard of stimulators being effective for nerve pain from spine issues. Are meds effective? Maybe a med pump would be better to look into? I'm sorry I can't be of more help. It must be horrible to live with. ;-(
    Osteoarthritis & DDD.
  • very much for your empathy, and I am so sorry to hear of your pain as well. It is nice to be in a place where that is understood without having to say much else.

    I haven't had the moving xrays or weight bearing mris that you brought up, what would they potentially isolate?

    The meds turn me into a zombie, and the other aspect of this is that it affects me sexually, making me take viagra, but then the muscle spasms get even worse because the viagra effects blood flow.

    It's crazy to me that there just is no answer for people who have these issues, I don't understand why the medical field can't provide us with better treatment options.

    Thank you again for your empathy.
  • Hi. I was just thinking that your problems could possibly be caused by underlying damage & your muscles are reacting rather than being the actual issue. If so a MRI is just a 'snap shot' of your spine in that position. Sometimes things can be seen better from a different angle or things like nerve impingement etc can be a lot worse when we are standing, sitting etc. know what I mean? When we go into one of those tubes they put something under our legs to take pressure off the spine & things can naturally fall back into place because of the position our body is in at that time. Just a thought!
    I've known people who have had fractures & stuff that never showed on an MRI...they're good for showing tissue problems like herniated discs but scans/X-rays can be better at picking up other damage. Sometimes bits can slip & move when we're moving but look correct on an MRI. I know they found a lot more issues with the stability of my spine from other diagnostics that they did from just analysing my regular MRI's.

    If all else fails it can be well worth the journey to go to the biggest teaching hospital you can get to. They often attract great specialists who are more into 'Dr House' kinds of investigations, more likely to think outside the box & get more invested in solving the riddle rather than just doing the common tests & following the rule book. I've found that once your specialists (& 2nd/3rd opinions) are throwing up their hands or loosing interest you need to get to a big hospital & find a different (in the head) kind of specialist who will delve a bit deeper.

    Sometimes we have to accept our condition & all the 'stuff' that goes with it (meds, treatments etc) but first we need to really push to find out WHY it's happening. It would be wonderful if you could get a real diagnosis & treatment rather than just trying to mask the symptoms year in year out. That gets old fast doesn't it? Ugh! Chronic pain sucks. Unexplained chronic pain is even worse!!! :-(
    Osteoarthritis & DDD.
  • arm8maarm8m Posts: 5
    edited 05/11/2015 - 4:43 PM
    Very much for the additional thoughts. Its interesting that you both suggest additional non mri films like x rays etc. something to think about, i would love to know more about what you all thought about the spinal chord stimulator - i realize it is meant more for nerves but arent nerves also connected to muscles? So couldnt there be a chain reaction effect that takes place? Anyway thanks for the input either way!
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