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Chronic Muscle spasms and low back pain

CDW123CCDW123 Posts: 25
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:59 AM in Chronic Pain
Hello -

I introduced myself to this forum a few months back. I have, what are considered, minor herniations in my lumbar spine and cervical spine. (Info at end of this message)
I have been suffering non-stop for 9 months from chronic muscle spasms that run from my low back straight up to my neck, mostly on my right side. I also cannot sit for any length of time due to extreme pain in the my low back. (Bulge & herniation at L5/S1) This makes work a nightmare.
I tried 4.5 months with one PT, acupuncture, steroid shots, trigger point shots. I have started with a new PT and am trying an osteopath. No luck yet on that.
I have tried taking loads of magnesium & magnesium rich food to no avail, so please no magnesium advocates.
I can't get a surgeon to even see me based on my MRIs.
The only thing I haven't tried yet is chiropractic, though osteopathy is kind of close.
No one who works with me seems to really understand what is going on.
I'm seeing my PM Dr. on Friday and thinking of insisting on a sitting/standing MRI at least for my low back.
I have to take narcotic painkillers every day and am finding I have to take them earlier in the day than before and more of them just to cope with work. I think I'm actually getting worse. Depression is getting very bad.
Any suggestions out there? Why won't my muscles stop spasming? Why won't my discs heal?

Thank you so much.

MRI Results:
L5-S1 broad disc bulge & central herniated disc. Herniated disc abuts the thecal sac & R S1 nerve root - w/o significant nerve root impingement

L3-4 small left lateral herniated disc abutting left L3 nerve root - w/o significant nerve root impingement.

C3/4 Mild broad disc ridging - does not significantly impress the CFS column or contact cord

C4/5 Mild broad disc ridging - asymmetric to R - impresses ventral aspect of CSF column - doesn't contact or deform cord

C5/6 Broad disc ridging - mildly asymmetric to R - effaces ventral aspect of CSF column - contacts cord w/o deformity

C6/7 R paracentral & R nerve foraminal disk protrusion/disk osteophyte complex - effaces ventral aspect of CSF column - contacts & mildly deforms cord. Mild central canal stenosis.


  • HI,
    Sorry you're not feeling well.. As I read your post, I'm thinking maybe you have myofacial pain syndrome, which can cause spasms.. I know this seems out of whack, but maybe you should check in with a rhumetologist....that's who found mine, when I had severe burning from butt to foot following lumbar surgeries in "95". Surgeon insisted all was well, but it was the rhumey who figured out that chronic pain and burning that wouldn't stop..
    Anyway, hope you can find some relief soon as that pain thing really wears your body and your spirit.. Antidepressants also may help, not only with the depression, but with the chronic pain as well. Maybe your MRI, when done, will give you more info... SOmetimes it takes so long to find out what you're looking for...don't give up and keep us posted!
  • I will look into this possibility. Is this a syndrome that can come on suddenly? My muscle spasms started shortly after my low back injury 9 months ago,
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    Post Edited by Authority Member Liz
  • HI,
    Yes, it can be one of those things that you have had all your life, and a major event can trigger it into action... Mine started with the double disc surgeries in 94, along with the stress of a divorce after 23 years...then the surgery of 95. that was a very stressful time...mind and body under too much stress, and the rhuemy said that triggered it!
    My experience anyway... if you look up fibromyalgia, it's very similar, yet different...hope you feel better soon!
  • CDW123

    Hi I sympathise with you with these spasms,I use Baclofen to help I could not get by without them,and no side effects for me.I have been told to drink plenty of water also.

    Have you thought of getting a second opinion,I was told nothing can be done some years ago after seeing my MRI then after desperation and years of waiting I was refered to a spinal unit who viewed the MRI and agreed on surgery at L5/S1 also C5/6 for a later date.

    7 weeks post op L5/S1 still getting spasms but they have improved a little and I'm told can take a year or more to recover,lower back is better regarding radiating pain.

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  • Thank you so much. You have no idea how good it is to hear that you found some relief. I am in the process of seeking at least 2 more opinions. Saw my PM Dr. today and he's trying to push thru a sitting MRI for at least my Lumbar with my ins. co.. I want cervical done as well since sitting is the position that causes my pain and triggers the spasms. Standing will do it too, but takes longer. (I have to stand to work most of the time at my desk. Still not great, but better than sitting. Got a hydraulic desk a few months back.) Lying down is the only position where I am comfortable and that's the position they put you in for standard MRI. I'm really hoping a sitting MRI will provide an accurate image of what is going on so I can finally get a surgeon and the doctors in general to wake up and take me seriously.
    Can you tell me the type of surgery you had?
    I take Baclofen. It does very little for me unfortunately. Drink lots of water too.
    Got some trigger shots today for some temporary relief and Dr. is also working on getting an approval for Botox which I'm going try and pray helps for a while.

    - Christy
  • I certainly have had loads of stress over the years.
  • I certainly have had loads of stress over the years.
  • HI

    I am in the same boat as you just mine muscle spasms are down my left side, I have had these since having a pro-lapsed disc last year, have had two discetomys on l5-s1 and unfortunately picked up an infection on the last operation which created a massice back abcess which i had to have two operations to remove this.

    I am now on 50mgph Fentaynol patches for the pain, and going to a spealised pain hospital in three months to see if they can help stop the muscle spasms as this is stopping everything from healing.

    My consultant believes this is all trigged by nerve root endings in and around the disc that was treated and if they cant stop the pain in six months will have no choice but to have a spinal fusion.

    So currently unable to work and life can be depressing but the way i have found help is through friends and yes some dont understand what is going on or what you are going through.

    I hope you find the answer to your problems

    best of luck
  • Hi cdw123,

    Yes my surgery was for spondylolisthesis at L5/S1 with decompression & fusion they inserted pedical screws and rods,they also had to remove bone around the nerves to free them up as they had been badly compressed.I was apparently born with a week lower spine,common apparently at this level.

    Both my MRI's were done laying down I have not heard of a sitting MRI.My spasms in my leg are worse when sitting still for periods of time and are just as bad laying down,including strong cramps.I feel more relief when moving about although foot drop makes things difficult.Had to press button during MRI as it was too painful laying still that long.

    Surgery couldn't have come soon enough,best thing I have done so far,I was originally told by a pain clinic nothing more could be done,lucky I went for a second opinion.still got a way to go but I do feel I will get there now.

    Where are you having the Botox injections ? neck/or back

    I had Botox once in my neck to relieve muscles that were so tight and in constant spasm I could not move my neck.I must say the Botox certainly worked relaxing the muscles to the point I could not hold my head up at all,I was looking directly at the floor all day every day,I would say it lasted around 3 months before I regained strength again,but the muscles tightened later on and pain remained in the neck,I think most of my pain is due to disc protrusion and osteophyte/bone spurs.The thing I did not like was I had extremely bad heads with this Botox and a feeling of not with it in my head,NEVER AGAIN for me.thankfully it's just a memory now as it was several years ago,perhaps I just had too much,also the bad heads I would say lasted well over a year,of course the pain clinic dismissed the Botox cause this.I still get bad headaches but this is different from what I experienced with bad heads straight after Botox was used.

    Also had nerve root blocks & nerve denervations for pain at pain clinic.

    Hope you get some relief soon best of luck,

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