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muscle spasms

How can I manage upper thoracic/lower cervical muscle spasms. I have old trauma from whiplash that only bothers me when I lift or use my upper body. During the night I wake up with excruciating pain that nothing seems to relieve it. Sometimes it goes on all the next day. Its driving me nuts as I cant find anything that can help.


  • LizLiz Posts: 9,647
    I see you have been a member for a few months now, I don't know if you have been reading the information on the site as well as the forum. This link maybe of help.


    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • I use muscle relaxants and pain killers together. Th muscle relaxant is called Rivrotril (clonazepam). My GP said it is non addictive but who knows.

    Heat helps me, also sleeping with a pillow between your knees takes the pressure off your spine. Your muscles are spasming to tell you there is something wrong. You really can't afford to muck around with your cervical or thoracic spine. You spinal cord runs through your spine there. My vertebrae only needs to move a small amount to put me back into really bad pain.

    If you have had an accident it could be mechanical and one of the vertebrae is out of place. I use a sports physio for a lot of reasons, firstly they are really gentle, so if you can find a good one who can feel your spine, if the damage is mechanical they might be able to adjust it for you.

    You really need to get a correct diagnosis and try to fix it now. I have had pain for nearly 9 years now. I thought it would get better but it never did. Please get it checked out, it is really important - any thoracic operation up that high is really difficult, they do not usually operate on your thoracic spine for pain, so please get it checked out. I had that agonising pain that never stopped so get it checked out please.

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  • Is a very addictive drug. Its generic for klonopin. I used to take it for anxiety due to severe bipolar disorder.
    Discectomies 05/08 and 04/11, fusions L4-5 Feb 9,2012 and L3-L4 June 28,2012, Staph infection washout 3/2/2012, Bulged L5-S1. SCS trial on January 17th, 2014, which was a success! Permanent SCS on February 20th.
  • thoracic spine painthoracic spine pain Posts: 566
    edited 02/15/2014 - 3:54 PM
    Thanks for letting me know. I won't stop taking it suddenly then. Seems to keep my muscle spasms at bay so anything that stops the pain I'll keep taking. I am kind of past caring. I used to be so careful not to become addicted to anything but after 8 years of intractable pain until they find something that works most of the time for me I'll stay with the meds that work. . At least my physio has found something that seems to be working.

    When it's time I'll come off all the meds but have already wasted 8 years of my life in pain, don't want to go back there again.

    Even when I take them my muscles still spasm so I am too scared to chance it at the moment. I am not going back to that pain for anyone.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 13,280
    besides any muscle relaxer medication, heat and ice treatments can help. I have a number of thoracic herniation that I have never had surgery for, However from time to time, I go through periods of discomfort and pain because of that.

    When that happens, I rotate between using warm moist heat on my upper back, then later on ice. For the ice, I generally just use a frozen bag of peas or corn, and lay on it.

    I have also found that by laying on a tennis ball, moving my upper body, shoulder to shoulder over that helps reduce some of the pressure. My doctor also told me that the use of a quarter and full roller can help. That allows me to put my spine in a neutral position will opening my chest cage. That has also helped reduce some stress from my rhomboid muscles which will always put pressure on your upper thoracic area when they become rigid.

    I would still talk this over with your doctor. What I do, is something that was suggested both by my physical therapist and doctors. Everything I mentioned with the exception of those rollers is pretty much standard for thoracic flare ups.
    Ron DiLauro Veritas-Health Forums Manager
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences 
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  • seabirdsseabird Posts: 2
    edited 02/16/2014 - 3:01 AM
    Thankyou for the suggestions. Last night at 2am the spasms started again. All I had done is helped move an outside table, a distance of about a metre. I couldnt sleep so I tried alternating pressing a cold pack then a heated wheat bag just about the shoulder blades and it really worked!. I eventually went back to sleep with relaxed muscles and it was such a relief. Usually I would in be such distress and over medicate. My pain specialist suggested gabapentin but my GP wouldnt prescibe it to me. He said magnesium, heat and massage would help but it is not practical late at night. Sleep deprivation has been such a problem so I will definately keep up with this simple idea..
  • I have an electric heating pad on my bed. I run it while I'm going to sleep and also if I wake up in the night. It helps a lot.
  • TerriPTTerriP Posts: 301
    edited 02/25/2014 - 5:16 AM
    The pad gets the upper back (mine is cervical) and shoulder muscles. Wrap it around and magnets hold it (for side sleepers). I have a heating pad that plugs into the car ciggie lighter also. I was getting to where I couldnt leave house do to spasms. I take an extra heating pad in car for use in dentist, doctor office....mine is constant and chronic. Also get a good tens unit.
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