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constant muscle spasm - anyone have this?

aimlessaaimless Posts: 372
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:25 AM in Chronic Pain
Not exactly sure where to post this, and I am going to ask my doc when I see him on the 15th, but I am wondering...

I have this constant muscle spasm in my left leg, at the top / back of my thigh, right below my butt. I would not say it is painful but I can literally feel it moving all the time. I had an MRI the other day and the movement did not interfere with that, and I do take a muscle relaxant every night (can't take them during the day). It just doesn't seem to go away.

My L5-S1 herniation is to the left so my leg nerve pain is on my left, I'm used to weird stuff happening in this leg. Just wondering if anyone else has non-stop but non-debilitating muscle spasms.

Jan 2009 L5-S1 ALIF
May 2017 ALIF L4-L5 with PLF rods added L4-L5-S1


  • I got them in my lower back and would radiate to my middle back before my surgery. That seems to be the one thing that has gotten better from surgery. I know this has nothing to do with your leg, just wanted you to know that I sympathize with muscle spasm pain.

  • if even though your issues are to the left if it could be causing muscle tightness to the right. Not sure but it makes sense that it might.
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  • One of the things that my neurosurgeon pointed out to me early on, was that many people confuse a muscle twitch with a muscle spasm.

    Muscle spasm is a condition by which a muscle contracts involuntarily and does not relax. A muscle spasm can occur in any muscle in the body. Other common names for muscle spasm include muscle cramp and charley horse (particularly when it occurs in one’s leg).

    Muscle twitching is the result of minor local muscle contractions or the uncontrollable twitching of a single muscle group served by a single motor nerve fiber or filament.

    Muscle twitches are minor and often go unnoticed. Some are common and normal, while others indicate a neurologic disorder.

    I hope this helps explain the difference between the two. Both indicate a problem, but possibly different causes.

  • As always, some good insight! Because it is not painful or tight per se (just constant and annoying), I'm inclined to think C may be on to something - twitch. Thank you for explaining the difference, very clear, makes perfect sense.
    Jan 2009 L5-S1 ALIF
    May 2017 ALIF L4-L5 with PLF rods added L4-L5-S1
  • OMG, my random Internet searches finally found someone who is having this too...!

    Me: 42 y/o male. Non-smoker. Only medical issue is minor high-cholesterol (taking meds for it). 5'8"/170. Good physical condition with regular exercise (AND yardwork;-).

    My story: herniated disk (L5) about 2.5 years ago. Most of the pain was in my right leg. My idiot neurosurgeon (sorry) didn't GET it that I was in terrible pain and let me suffer for almost two months before giving me two spinal injections (on two different occasions) -- I was out of work for 1.5 months during this time on my living room floor. So, my right leg atrophied very badly, my calf was almost the size of my forearm. (This may or may not be related to my current issue.)

    Ok, I recovered from all that and "re-built" my leg, but ever since then I've had muscle spasms, twitches, and debilitating charlie horses in my calf (whatever the name, they all stink!) -- constantly. It never stops, it's doing it right now as I type this and if I put my leg into the wrong position -- I can trigger a charlie horse *like that*...nothing seems to stop it, however, all those common things that effect "normal" cramps effect it in a big way; almost in a hyper-sensitive way (dehydration, cold, etc.). I get a half-dozen mini charlie horses a night (I've learn to feel them coming on and deal with it) but occasionally a mother-of-all-charlie horses will hit (like last night) that almost puts me in tears.

    I have had MRI's, x-rays, half-dozen different meds, ultrasounds on my arteries and veins (to check for blood flow), peripheral blood pressure checks, physical therapy with a spinal specialist, electrolyte checks and other blood work. No one knows what to do. I volunteer as an EMT-B, so I have a little formal training in trying to put symptoms and cause/effect together; but i find rhyme-or-reason to any of it.

    My most recent course of action is seeing a neurologist. His theory is this: during the "episodes surrounding the disk herniation, the nervous system was trained to think of pain in a different way -- therefore, we need to re-train the system. He is giving me twice the normal dose of Neurontin (16 pills a day), a drug that's normally prescribed for seizures, over the course of 3 - 6 months. This is a new course of action for this field (and frankly I'm dubious about it -- but I'll try anything at this point). Two months into this and there's still no change.

    You're not alone! I've added you as a buddy here -- please keep me posted if you learn anything, I will do the same here.

    ...and just when I thought I was simply going nuts.

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  • I have just recently been having severe muscle spasms (to the point at which I might almost cause them seizures-- well, tentany- like arches, and heavy contractions) of my leg, trunk and arm, hand and feet muscles. Felt like it did when I used to try to go thru withdrawal of a med (but I'm not withdrawing from anything, right now). The only thing I could figure out, is that I recently tried to INCREASE my Neurontin dose! (Now, I'm taking it back down, again). No, I'm not epileptic...I was on it for post herpetic neuralgia (post-Shingles). Also, though, I have a craving for salt, and have been some unbelievable stress in the past year, or so... (maybe adrenal insufficiency? Sodium level problems?)

    I am seeing my doc on Wed.

    Of course, I also have herniated disks, fibromyalgia, etc., etc.

    And here I am, a Newbie on here...sigh...I had wanted to ease in slowly!!! :$
  • I get that on the opposite leg of the herniation only it's my calf. Especially after the ESIs last dose Dec.6. No more pain just calf tightness and moves like a contraction but if I stretch my leg at the same time I get a cramp in the calf and in the toe it's not fun but what I had before the injections was endless pain and tingling so I'll take the contractions but after 1 year this is getting old. Wish the herniation would dry up like it's supposed to. Blah
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • I am just recovering from an 11 hr "charlie horse" in my left hand. It started last night after I put the kids to bed...had trouble going to sleep and then woke me a 3:30 am. Only this morning was I able to close and open my hand to get rid of it. I couldn't move my wrist, my outside 3 fingers were effective as well as my thumb. It hurt so bad, i really thought I broke my hand! The pain would go thru my wrist and up to my elbow.

    I have severe muscle spasms in my back - whole back from hips to neck and thru my neck muscles. I am receiving Botox for this on the 13th -

    No twitching, major muscle contrations - thanks for the definitions C - is twitching a prelude to spasms? I previously had lots and lots of twitching thur the T spine and now it is all jsut pure spasms.

  • I think it is Cubital Tunnel - just like carpel of the hand/wrist - but from the elbow - it makes alot of sense. Only left with the pain - elbow, wrist, ring finger. I have had both my hands done (05/06) carpel tunnel. Surprised in the left, I am right handed. - But those were some major spasms of the hand - couldn't unfold my hand, claw like - hurt, hurt, hurt!
  • That's what I call them because they are so awful. I would get those in my legs, and would feel the thigh get rock hard. Of course I'd be crying by this point. I would also get spasms in my calf and in the arch of my foot. The only thing equally worse is the crushing pain on the top of my foot. Massaging the area carefully is very soothing, and heating pads are helpful. Of course, always take your nerve pain medicine ON TIME every day to avoid this from getting worse.
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