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Old 01-23-2011, 10:12 AM   #1
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Scoliosis, rotated rib cage, and weird spasm

I'm 54 years old. I'm active and enjoy many different activities. I keep my weight down through exercise and watching what I eat.

I've known since I was a teenager that I have scoliosis.. It doesn't give me any problems except a 1-2 times a year when I have a spasm that drives me completely crazy. A few years ago, I saw a good physical therapist who gave me some exercises to strengthen my back and shoulder muscles. She noticed that my rib cage appears to be rotated toward the left!

When I bend over, people notice that the muscles on one side of my spine protrude much higher than the other side. That would make sense if my rib cage is rotated.

But here's what I really want to ask about --- the weird spasm:
About 1-2 times a year, always after doing something that requires hours of bending (weeding, crafting at a table, etc.), I get a spasm just below the bra strap and just to the right of the spine. The first sign is some tightness there that feels like someone digging their knuckle into my back --- not really painful, but just uncomfortable.

Later, when I'm relaxing, that's when it really drives me crazy. The spasm isn't painful -- instead, it feels like the muscle is "fluttering" beneath the skin. Sometimes I describe it as an "internal itch that I can't scratch". Another description: It feels like someone is rubbing that spot with their knuckle, for hours and hours and hours. Imagine how annoying that would be --- not particularly painful, just VERY annoying. I can't rest or lie down because it causes me to want to bend or move in any direction to alleviate it. If I try to lie still, I feel the "flutter", which causes me to tense up, which sets things in motion again.

If I catch it early enough by stopping the activity, stretch and take Advil, it usually goes away. I've learned to prevent this by stretching [I]before [/I] the activity, using good body mechanics (bend my knees and squat instead of bend at the waist), taking regular breaks to stretch, and stretching after the activity. I also lie on a styrofoam roll, roll back and forth to allow the pressure to "knead" that spot in my back, and allow my shoulders to fall back --- this feels very comfortable and I highly recommend investing in a styrofoam roll.

I'm just wondering if anyone has heard of a spasm that feels like this --- not really painful, just extremely annoying.

 
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Old 01-23-2011, 02:22 PM   #2
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Re: Scoliosis, rotated rib cage, and weird spasm

I have experienced some of what you are describing but I had scoliosis surgery which it seems like you have been able to avoid. My surgery was in 1978 and fairly primative to todays scoliosis surgeries...I was left with most of the curve and rib rotation,today they can usually restore alot of the spine and ribcage alienment. With my ribcage still abnormally twisted I get what feels like the ribs slip over each other a bit and its excruciating pain and the muscle tightens and I can't move for a few minutes till the muscle relaxes and everything seems to ...return to its normal position? I am thinking it has more to do with the cartilidge between the ribs that is compromised when we move in a certian way. Hope this helps a bit...its just what I experience. God Bless.
Rich

 
Old 07-22-2011, 11:56 AM   #3
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Re: Scoliosis, rotated rib cage, and weird spasm

Is there another term for the rib slip feeling. I have been dealing with major pain in my torso/rib area for the last year. My PM doc put it off on my general doc who sent me to a physical therapist who informed me ribs couldn't hurt unless broken and suggested I was just depressed??

I have been trying to just live with it but I'm sick of not sleeping more than two hours due to it. I go back to the PM doc next week & am trying to find some way to explain this so they don't just think I'm a crazy woman. What gets me is during all this none of them have actually bothered to exam my ribs, you can easily feel that one side of my rib cage feels solid, like a plate instead of individual ribs. The is muscle spasms in my torso are so bad I will wake up screaming unable to tell anyone what wrong, which almost lead to a 911 call by my husband the first time it happened.
I'm sorry you have this pain but honestly it is good see someone else describe it as I feel like I'm some crazy woman trying to get folks to tell me something other than scoliosis doesn't cause pain.

 
Old 07-22-2011, 01:44 PM   #4
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Re: Scoliosis, rotated rib cage, and weird spasm

Hello- well I was very interested to see this post. Beginning in January of this year I am having all sorts of strange upper back spasms, and it seems like the spasms (more like gentle tightening) are rotating my spine. And sometimes the area under my bra in the back- but on the outside - burns like fire- doesn't hurt so much but really bizzarre. It is very upsetting. My left lowest rib in the front is sticking out more than the one on the right and is about an inch lower. I have no lateral curve though and have been told off hand by various professionals that I don't have scoliosis. Meanwhile, an xray says that my spine is rotated to the right from the sacrum to mid-thoracic level but with no explaination of what it means. My GP says maybe I should try to derotate myself but admits she is clueless.

Anyway, I have taken a real interest in other peoples backs and I have noticed that many people have one shoulder blade protruding more out the back than the other. I met my brother a month ago- it was the first time I saw him in over 10 years, and one of his shoulder blades is sticking out more in the back and I don't think it was ever like that before. One of my shoulder blades also sticks out more but not as much as his. My opposite shoulder keeps wanting to hike up as well. It is as if my back is trying to do its own thng.

So think about it: how did all those shoulder blades get to protrude like that? Well, the spine must be rotating, bringing the rib cage along with it and the scapula over top. That has to be it. And that would hurt I would imagine.

So what I don't get is why this is not "scoliosis" and is it reversible or can I at least stop it from rotating furthur.

And most important, why do none of the "experts" out there recognize this condidtion- it is very obvious to me. Also if you look lower down, the pelvises of these people are often rotated so that when they walk on foot is turned out more than the other. In my case, my higher shoulder is furthur back than my other shoulder to the point where the clavicle doesn't even show.

My big question is there something I can do about it? And who one earth recognizes this condition?

 
Old 07-22-2011, 04:01 PM   #5
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Re: Scoliosis, rotated rib cage, and weird spasm

teethandtoes -- You make some valid observations. When they used to diagram proper posture and used a series of blocks to show where the shoulders should be in relation to the pelvis, the pelvis to the knees, knees to the ankles and feet, etc. they weren't too far off. The way we carry our bodies begins with the placement of our feet. If the feet are pronated, it results in the ankles leaning in, which causes a rotation of the leg, which usually results in a tilted or rotated pelvis. It can throw the SI joints off as well.

People often think they have one leg that is shorter than the other, when in reality it is because one hip is carried higher than the other. Following on up the spine, this rotation results in one shoulder being carried higher than the other, and usually, or at least, often, the head to carried too far forward.

All this misalignment throws the soft tissue off and causes muscle imbalances, and all of this results in weird things happening to the structure of the spine. It causes uneven pressure on the discs, which can lead to disc herniation, and a variety of other issues.

You can imagine that after a lifetime of improper body alignment, it is normal to find someone favoring one side of the body over the other. I realized that for six decades I've been standing with my weight on one leg, with the other one pointed out, that when I sit, I always cross my left leg over the right (which puts most of my weight on the right side), When I sit, if not careful, I favor the right side, slump to the right, etc. I am learning to sit with both feet on the floor, with equal weight on my "sit bones." When standing, I put weight on both feet equally. I am trying to avoid crossing one leg over the other.

If you have problems with your back you may need to see a specialist...but they will not address over-all body alignment, musculature, etc. You might find it interesting to read about the Feldenkrais method of movement or look at the work of Esther Gohalke.

I have treatments about three times per month with a guy who keeps me in alignment. I call him my "rearranger" but obviously, one cannot look up that specialty in the phone book! He does acupuncture and bodywork to keep my SI joints in place and to keep me going, in general.

There are people out there who know what you're talking about. It just takes awhile to find them!

Last edited by teteri66; 07-22-2011 at 04:02 PM.

 
Old 07-22-2011, 05:17 PM   #6
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Re: Scoliosis, rotated rib cage, and weird spasm

Thank you very much for responding tetonteri66! I will look into Feldenkrais here- I have seen classes advertized.

Tetonteri66, have you had any luck reversing any of it? Do you find your back is rebelling against the change? I find my back is rebelling- sort of wanting to spring back.
Thank you so much for relating your experiences- I feel like , wow, am I imagining this? I started taking an Ityengar yoga classes this winter and the teacher has us lay there on our backs and note the difference between the sides of our bodies and my left side feels so limp in comparison to the right, and I wonder, wow am I going crazy?

For me this journey began with my feet- which was actually sciatica. I am now in orthotics and pronating on one foot- so I totally agree with what you said. The orthotics make it very clear. For me, though, I keep thinking that it is my feet that are reacting to my spine-my left foot is pronating in order to oppose the action of my spine..

Anyway, thank you again and I would be so grateful to know more

 
Old 07-22-2011, 07:25 PM   #7
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Re: Scoliosis, rotated rib cage, and weird spasm

It is natural that there would be much resistance to any change. I have had orthotics in the past but didn't understand the need for them beyond my foot issues. After working with my "rearranger," it all makes sense.

I've had my back rearranged from two fusion surgeries. I have orthotics to correct pronation, and, like anything else...it is really important to take care choosing who makes the orthotics. I am supposed to wear them all the time -- even around the house, rather than going barefoot. Now I can really tell a difference in the way my back feels if I change shoes that have even a slightly different heel height.

I personally have no experience with the Feldenkrais methods, but have found someone who has the training and am eager to see her this fall when I have more time.

 
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Old 07-23-2011, 10:05 AM   #8
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Re: Scoliosis, rotated rib cage, and weird spasm

Thanx Tentonteri66 . I notice a difference in my (mild) sciatica districubution if I wear my orthotics or not. With then it is more L4 and without them it is more S1. Crazy, eh? Good luck and I am going to give you a hug once I figure out how!

 
Old 06-18-2012, 08:38 AM   #9
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Re: Scoliosis, rotated rib cage, and weird spasm

Having asking my doctor about these cramps in the ribs I am surprised to find it appears so common in others. My doctor could offer no help what so ever and I have had to endure these unbelievably painful events on my own.
These cramps as far as I can remember started soon after a heart attack in 2006. I often wonder if the cramps could be side affects (not listed) of tablets taken for my heart problem, [U]Simvastatin / Losartan / Bisoprolol / Asprin. [/U]
This pain I have found can occur at any time. On one occasion I was simply standing talking in the street to a friends neighbor. I turned a few degrees to my left to casually look at a car I heard approaching.
I suddenly felt a rapidly intensifying pain in my lower left rib and I quickly motioned to my friend to go to her home.
I was by then in absolute agony and because a few months past I had a heart attack she called an ambulance. By the time they got me in the ambulance I was shaking like a leaf. I had already made my mind up-this is the end.
Thankfully they found nothing wrong with my heart and I was once again left with no-idea as to why I suffer this pain.

 
Old 06-18-2012, 11:30 AM   #10
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Re: Scoliosis, rotated rib cage, and weird spasm

I haven't come to this site since I last posted! Then got an email today that someone responded to this thread. Well I will just let you know that it ends up that I have osteoporosis (Tscore=-2.6 in the lumbar spine). This may or may not be related to your troubles with the ribs- lots of people with OP get rib pains. I also realized since doing the posting here and getting diagnosed that I was really out of shape and weak. I was doing a lot of dancing and felt strong, but really I was not. The tightening in my upper back is still ongoing and I still don't know why. I had a lumbar MRI and DXA scan both which said a probable previous compression fracture and T12 with mild anterior wedging- the thoracic was not tested. My sciatica is better and I know what causes it- hyperextension of the back with rotation at the same time- like the doggie exercises on all 4's when you stick your leg up-


Good luck to you. I now suggest to any peri menopausal woman suffering musculoskeletal troubles to get her bone density tested. I wish I had have gotten mine tested years ago.

 
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