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Neurological Spasms in Upper Body from Lumbar Issues???

jean jayejjean jaye Posts: 181
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:48 AM in Exercise and Rehab

I just had my out patient Physical Therapy evaluation, because I am not progessing enough at home therapy for insurance to continue- gggrrrhh. My right arm and shoulder are failing me with any walker therapy so gravity is not my friend. I have been limited to exercises that can be done in the hospital bed or wheelchair at home.

I had one of my shoulder muscle spasms that I have been having during the PT exam. Unfortunately, I did not have one of these when I went to have my shoulder evaluated by the surgeon. My physical therapist told me that this was a neurological problem and not a shoulder problem.???? I was very surprised. My tumor was at L2/L3 and my L4 is herniated. My neck is feeling pretty well since my May rhyzotomy/RFA. It is my shoulder and arm that are hurting so badly from a substitute PT and trying to use the walker. Has anyone heard of neurological symptoms above the spinal cord problems??? She said the the tumor was in my "Central Nervous System" VS some other nervous symstem that I think began with a "P". She said that this is more complicated and targets more areas of the body. It is not that I don't believe her. I just never thought that something occurring in your lumbar spine could cause nerves in your shoulder to fire muscles in your shoulder.??????? Has anyone else heard of such a thing??? Am I understanding this right??? She wants me to see a neurologist.??? Can you tell from seeing a spasm that it is neurological?? Has anyone had a lumbar disc problem and experienced upper body neurological issues? I know that we are not doctors, but if anyone has had any similar experiences I would appreciate any help.



  • Could it have been Peripheral Nervous System?

    I do have problems with twitching in my shoulder and thoracic area as well as in my arms and hands.
    I think that they are due to problems in my neck though.

    As far as I know, symptoms generally show below the level where the problems are.

    Are you sure that these muscle spasms are not coming from your neck? I should definately see a neurologist and then you should get a knowledgeable answer.

    I wish you well glo :-)

  • I'm with Jellyhall on this. 1 or 2 levels above maybe, but that far above? I would take her advice and go to the Neurologist, but I would bet he will look more at the neck or the brachial plexus to see if that is where the pain and spasms are generating from. Please let us know how it goes. Support *HUGZ* to ya Glo!!

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
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  • hope this article helps answer your question:


    best wishes. keep me posted.

    marianne xxoo
  • Don't know if this applies, but I used to work in a PT clinic and saw many times where patients would cause impingement in their upper body by the use of crutches and walkers. Depending on things such as physical condition prior to surgery, length of time using crutches or walker and possible improper technique in using crutches or walker, this would cause a variance in location and severity of nerve impingement.

    I think the suggestion to have a neurologist give you an evaluation is a good idea regardless of what may or may not be causing your spasms.

    Keep us posted.

  • Thank you Jellyhall, Brenda, and Marianne. Yes, Jellyhall, that is it, Peripheral Nervous System. I think I was in such shock that I just couldn't absorb it all. I always understood what you and Brenda wrote that the symptoms are usually below the levels. Thank you for your input. Thank you Marianne for that link. I have been researching the specific kind of tumor that it was, but I didn't see this one. Thank you for taking the time to respond. I will be making that neurologist appointment. I just thought that what I heard was sounding kind of crazy based on everything that I had learned on spine health. Thanks again and my Best Wishes to all of you!

    glo :)
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  • Hi C,

    I must have been writing my thank you post as you were writing your post so I missed you. Thank you. That is just what I told the physical therapist when I went in. I told her that I had a substitute PT come to the house one day, and she had me do exercises beyond my ability. I also told her that I think I have been trying to use the walker, and that pressure is really hurting my weak right side. I thought that was the real reason. That is when she told me that the spasm was a neurological one. Maybe using the walker caused a neurological problem and not the lumbar tumor?? I will see my daughter's neurologist. Thank you for your post. I think your idea does apply. Have a good and pain free day.

    glo :)
  • Always glad to try and help! :-) Since you're going to see a Neurologist, I of course feel a lot better for you. I'll keep the positive thoughts and energy going your way, and too the deeper wishes it all turns out well for ya!!! *HUGZ*

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
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