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Muscle tightness associated with cervical disc problems???

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13

Comments

  • I am almost a year post-cervical/lumbar fusion and I am in pain from muscle tightness which gets so bad that my arms and legs get numb. I exercise and stretch regularly and nothing seems to help. Yes, massage helps but by the next day I am hurting again. I wish I could afford to get a 20 minute massage daily. With this economy, I can't afford any massages!!!

    Doc says my pain is from poor posture. I can't even get my shoulders to go into correct posture with such tight muscles. I am in daily pain with no medication. I can't take anything but over the counter meds because I have to drive my kids all over town every day.

    I thought by now I would be feeling totally normal. I am getting very frustrated with my life style. I cannot make it through a whole day without having to lay down to get the pressure off my spine.

    We can no longer go anywhere more that an hour away as a family because it creates too much pain for me. So forget family vacation of any sort!!! I have not been able to join my family for vacation since this accident years ago!

    I am so frustrated!!!!!
  • CRASH21, it's a bit of a puzzle, isn't it?
    You need to do something to alleviate something else, but doing it causes other problems.
    As they say, as one door closes another slams in your face!
    I've had great success with massage, feeling so much better for a few days and my pain med usage drops by 70-80%.
    From 8 or so a day to 2 or 3.
    Of course I feel so good i immediately over do it and cancel out the massage benefits.
    I've been doing light stretches and exercises for general toning and to strengthen my shoulder muscles, the ones that give me awful headaches.
    But I've found that some of these, the ones I need the most, are causing new problems with my arm and shoulder.
    I'll have to leave off for a few days.
    So annoying when you get so unfit from avoiding pain, that the recovery treatment causes other problems.
    How do you to get on top of it all?
    Where do you start?
    So very frustrating.
    Everyone has a different opinion and advice to offer. You have to make an appointment so far ahead that you are in a different condition when you get there.
    You really need a personal trainer.
    As if.
    I think I'm probably going in a bit too soon, and should let the massage treatment have time to work. It seems that my muscles in the back are such a mess that any exercising is going to have a poor result.
    At least I have the massage, which I know works for me. Recovery will be a much slower and lengthy period that I and the medicos thought. They said 2-3 months. Looks like 6-12 to me.
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  • Apparently, chronic neck pain due to increased muscle tension and spasm is only part of the problem. Usually a muscle issue will settle down in a short period of time. So if the problem continues over 3 + months --more likely the primary problem is due to a disc(s) facet joint etc problem or other underlying structural problem deeper within and past the muscle issue. Unfortunately even most doctors don't understand this. So a massage and meds will only take us so far.Our muscles are in pain because they are working too hard to support our heads and protect the underlying structures that are injured.

    If we have a structural problem in one area of the vertebra (disc, face t joint) due to poor posture for example often eventually the integrity of other parts of the vertebra will breakdown because we continue our poor posture and overuse say at a computer. So if we continue to use poor posture etc the various passive therapies we use will either need to be increased or we decide they are not working any longer. Dr Schoffereman uses the analogy of a three legged chair where one of the legs becomes broken and the other legs eventually give out and all along we wobble off centered --that is if we continue to use the chair! So the massage therapy is ikely not going to make up for the damages in the long haul unless it allows us to strengthen appropriately.

    reference: "What to do about a pain in the neck: The Complete Program for NEck Pain Relief" by Jerome Schofferman, MD
  • bridgie said:
    Apparently, chronic neck pain due to increased muscle tension and spasm is only part of the problem. Usually a muscle issue will settle down in a short period of time. So if the problem continues over 3 + months --more likely the primary problem is due to a disc(s) facet joint etc problem or other underlying structural problem deeper within and past the muscle issue. Unfortunately even most doctors don't understand this. So a massage and meds will only take us so far.Our muscles are in pain because they are working too hard to support our heads and protect the underlying structures that are injured.

    If we have a structural problem in one area of the vertebra (disc, face t joint) due to poor posture for example often eventually the integrity of other parts of the vertebra So the massage therapy is not going to make up for the damages in the long haul unless it allows us to strengthen appropriately.

    Well, funny you should say that, as I am in that exact situation, although I feel that there can be many instances when muscles alone are the problem.
    While massage has been easing the muscle knots, the stretching and exercise routine seems to have aggravated them.
    In my case this leads to my neck muscles then being drawn down, resulting in awful headaches.
    Stretches, exercise and massage were prescribed to cure me.

    I found a hard swelling in my left shoulder, so had it looked at by ultra sound today. Just the scapula, but it is a different shape to the other and the shoulder is a bit higher. Took x-rays to see if there is a bony growth.

    Something is upsetting these shoulder muscles, as you suggest, and massage will not cure it.
    Another instance of where you have to take charge of your medical process, not just leave it to others.
  • I read all the comments.

    I'm sorry we all have to go through this.
    I can't decide if my problems stem from poor posture or if they are just in a never ending cycle because of poor posture or whatever.

    All I know is that it hurts chronically and that isn't fun at all.
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  • Peter from what I've read and what I've experienced (exercise flaring up muscles we are trying to strengthen) we have to keep trying to strengthen the muscles that support our neck and head. Probably work with someone like a trainer or PT that recogizes the exercises that seem to flare us and then modify these exercises. But before we can start back up or try the modified exercises, we need to deal w/the flare. According to Dr Schofferman, ("What To Do With a Pain in the Neck: The Complete Program for Neck Pain Relief") we can perform his "neck first aide" which is very simple stretches, good posture, ice, lying on the floor every two hours w/a towel under the neck so the neck is in a neutralizing position, and other maneuvers and therapies. The whole idea behind "neck first aide" is to neutralize the neck. Anyway, I believe once the "flare" has been neutralized, its once again time to work towards strengthening. He has his own exercise suggestions in this book as well. So its not necessary to go to an expensive gym or be in PT to try to strengthen and work on better posture.I found his suggestion to keep the chin parallel to the floor, turn the whole body if possible when looking around, and use the upper part of the neck to look down---like a hinge, very helpful reminders.

    I very much appreciate how difficult this delicate balance is between managing a flare and working on posture and strengthening whether we have surgry or not. It does seem sometimes either ourselves or the various professionals we're working with try to overly simplify the problem. For example, I recenty began attempting to work out at a Pilates studio. The trainer has convinced himself spine problems are related to muscles most the time. His logic being we have 600 some muscles and only 200 some bones in our bodies. Personally I think he's over simplified to benefit his business model. He's a so-called naturalpathic doctor so I guess I'm suppose to trust him! Anyway, we have to recognize ourselves that if we have a chronic problem its likely going to improve with a combination of passive and active therapies. I feel our job is to figure out which combination works for ourselves. Plus we have to recognize the cognitive errors in logic that run rampant and then question the logic or the overly simplification of the truth behind our pain problems.
  • Some people age better than others. 7 out of 10 people suffer from degenerative disks. Some young, some old. Some earlier, some later, in life. Then there are some that have suffered due to an injury. This is not uncommon & not any fun indeed, but find a doctor that you like & feel comfortable with. There are tons out there.
  • Zack said:
    Some people age better than others. 7 out of 10 people suffer from degenerative disks. Some young, some old. Some earlier, some later, in life. Then there are some that have suffered due to an injury. This is not uncommon & not any fun indeed, but find a doctor that you like & feel comfortable with. There are tons out there.
    Those are sad stats. I hope most people don't get pain from it.
  • bridgie-WOW.
    Nicely expressed and I fully agree.
    With a flare, NOTHING gets done!

    I think my physio has 'dumbed down' my treatment so I won't be discouraged from following it.
    That may be a technique that works with most patients-who knows?
    He was very excited about his ability to cure me but spoke so much he didn't leave enough time to show me all of the stretches and exercises.
    They are all quite simple and I've done most before, but even so it should have been done.
    Having been on it for 3 months now I have enough ammo to be able to see him and discuss it all in much more detail.

    I know that I have to get muscle tone and strength back or the battle is lost.
  • well, I just wanted to say I have had tight muscles since about 1996, when i noticed that anyone who massaged me gave me relief, and that would last for a good 3 days or more. in 1999 a car accident, I also worked in retail all my life. in 2002 things got real bad, massages lasted only a couple hours, tried everything you all listed above. had surgery in 2008, 7 months ago. c4-6 fused, acdf, pain was horrible when i woke up. Had spasms all over my back. everyone had to press on my back in the recovery room. I cannot take pain killers or muscle relaxers, as the pain killers make me hyper, and muscle relaxers give me headaches believe it or not. anyway, I am back to severe headaches, muscles knots severe, that spread to the back of my shoulders where the armpits meet, it is so bad. botox injections work if the hit the correct spots. i love trigger point injections, if they hit the correct spots also, but they don't want to give me them hardly anymore because I have had so much cortisone put in my body. and I am addicted to those needles to break those stupid little worm like knots, that is all that works for me. If i did not have a man in my life who presses these knots daily for me I could not survive, before he came into my life, I was hospitalized for severe depression from this, because I could not take the pain or live, because I was unable to press on the knots myself, it has been horrible. I know I am stuck with this for life now. surgery did not work, and that was my last hope
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