Sorry this is a bit long. 6 months ago I found out I had a bone spur at the C6 level and have been told it is nothing to worry about as it didn't appear to be pinching anything though there is a very slight bulge. I was working on my laptop at night and looked up and felt this buzzing sensation in my head, felt like I was going to pass out. Told my doctor, he ordered MRI which showed the bone spur but apparently it is not pressing on anything. However 2 days after the night I felt that sensation from looking up, I started having awful muscle spasms that occur in my shoulders, behind the shoulder blades and across the upper part of my back and neck. For awhile I couldn't even turn my head left or right and was feeling dizzy, but luckily that resolved. The muscle spasms have continued though every day. Pain can be sharp or pinchlike or just very very achy, when you rub over where the spasm is it feels like a big fiber. The spasms often feel like knots when my PT is trying to massage them out.
I can feel good for a little bit but then I try to do some computer work or housework and then I get hit by spasms again, it's always between the back of my neck and never lower than the bottom of my shoulder blades. But spasms can occur anywhere in between that whole area. Sometimes the back area of my neck really aches extending from shoulder to shoulder, I've been told it's from the muscle pulling across. I never ever had a problem like this till now. I have been going to physical therapy for 4 months up to 3 times a week and I still am suffering from the muscle spasms in this area??? I don't understand why and why they won't go away. I take ibuprofen every day to help with any inflammation and drink lots of water also. I can't take Flexeril as it makes me very sleepy and I have my children to care for during the day along with driving the car. I use moist heat and ice packs alternately, whatever brings me temporary relief and I've been doing a series of stretching exercises given to me by the PT. I have had 2 trigger point injections in my upper shoulders...first time around they helped ease the spasms for almost 3 weeks, this last go around hasn't helped at all. I met with a chiro who assured me she could fix my spasms as she felt they were occuring from being out of alignment, but my orthopedic doc says no chiro, especially to avoid neck manipulations, and as just the thought of that scares me, I've not gone back to the chiro. I'm frustrated with living in pain and with these spasms and being in a physical therapy office three times a week to find some relief. At night I take 2.5 mg of valium to help relax the muscles and give them a break, that seems to help, but I am very, very reluctant to take it during the day because I don't want to become dependent on it and quite simply I just want my body to heal and go back to the way it was. Never have I had muscle spasms before and I don't know why this all started. I would however, just like for them to go away. I've been told the bone spur isn't the cause but I can't imagine between the weird thing that happened the night I was working on the computer and then the start of the spasms. It has been diagnosed as "cervical strain". If you've had any experience with these type of muscle spasms, I'd appreciate any and all feedback or guidance as to seeing some other type of specialist besides my primary care doctor and orthopedic or what you did to rid the spasms either through stretching, exercise, diet or vitamins. Most folks don't consider 2.5 mg. of Valium to not be much, but I don't even like taking that. I only take it at night as my doc said it will help these muscles release a bit. I do sleep fairly comfortably through the night, but once I'm up and about in the morning the muscle spasms will usually kick back in. I'd like to be the pain/muscle spasm free person I was just 6 months ago without having to rely on a muscle relaxant to get through my day. During the day I suffer through with them because I don't want to take a muscle relaxant. When I'm out driving the kids, I take a lunch box with soft ice packs in it and if I start to spasm I wrap the soft ice pack in a small towel and stuff it down the back of my shirt wherever I'm getting pinched by the spasm, it does usually help to get rid of the spasm or it just numbs it. Lovely way to travel! The kids are getting use to see me walk around with ice packs sticking out of my clothes or a chilled cervical collar on. I hate it. It has really changed my life and I want it resolved and get these spasms to disappear. I'm worried I might have to have some type of neck surgery, which I would like to avoid. PT keeps trying to encourage me to continue to work on strengthening the upper back and shoulders with light weights and stretching to help eliminate the spasms, but I've been trying that for months. And prior to all this had no strength problems in that area that I was aware of, I was very active, and had no problem lifting things, carrying groceries or playing tennis or tossing a ball with the kids. Because of the spasms I can't do these things anymore. I make myself do the exercises and stretching and trying to do my usual daily routine but sometimes it's so painful. Even my husbands hand gets tired from trying to massage out the muscle spasms and he's in construction...so he's got strong hands! Advice from any other muscle spasms sufferers greatly appreciated! Thanks.
[This message has been edited by RAR (edited 09-20-2003).]
since vour first triggerpoint injection worked for 3 weeks, I'd suggest youget your hands on a copy of Clair Davies current book on self-massage of pain-causing trigger points. Just any massage will not work for your problem....it has to be "dead on" the spot or spots, which can cause extraordinary pain yetbe small as a pinhead. The problem with "injections" is that a doctor doesnt have x-ray vision & the trigger points tend to want to get out of the way of the needle, so it takes a very talented & lucky doctor to hit them consistently. It's quite likely that his/her second attempt wasnt as successful as his/her first.
Thanks, I will look for the book. You are right in that some of the trigger points or spasms can feel very small, but cause huge pain. My husband or PT can often find them and apply pressure to them, but it's just the whole trying to get rid of them thing, that I'm working on right now. I've not been to a neurologist and someone suggested I try that next.
When I go into spasm, it seems to take time to work it out. Maybe ask your doctor about magnesium or quinine therapy? What about seeing a rheumatologist? I get painful spasms & use splints, wraps, a soft cervical collar, neck roll, moist heat & cold packs, meds rx & otc, gentle rom stretching, mag/cal + omega3+multivitamin supplaments, quinine water, chamomile tea, (had a tetanas shot when the shoulder froze) etc. Posture is important especially while driving or sitting. If I don't have good posture it makes it worse.
Maybe you could explore options with your doctor to combine therapys. If you resist taking rx relaxants you may be limited to the trps injections. When I use ice, it usually numbs the area and reduces the swelling but there are times the ice packs hurt so I try the moist heat (like the last few nights wrapped around my foot). I think for some spasms where the muscle is in contraction moist heat loosens it a little. Talk with your pt/doc and ask them if ice is the right protocal for spasm. For my arms & legs; ice helps, for neck, lower back and feet; moist heat helps. Sorry if this has been a road already traveled by you-this is just in my experience.
Ps: There are snap packs (forget the name)when you bend them, it activates & the pack gets hot and stays that way for about a half hour. You can find that at a pharmacy. I have used them before-they help. If your doctor/pt tells you to try moist heat, you could moisten w/warm water gauze and wrap it around the snap pack then apply to the area (car rides). When I get stinging around C6 I try moist heat therapy. There are pain patches (they have them in rx too).
Hope you are feeling better soon.
I know exactly how you feel, I'm dealing with pretty much the same thing. Mine is going on a year that I've had the terrible feeling by my trapizoid down into my shoulder blade, months later it went into the other side. I have been to a countless number of Doctors, including my current chiropractor ( 2 others before that), a physical therapist, a trip to the neuro spine center, and a massage therapist ( who has helped me tremendously) I've had 2 different x-rays and an MRI. They did find 2 twisted vertabraes in my neck and in my back and a slight bulging disk which the chiropractor takes care of, but I still have the constant muscle spasms which seems to have spread to other muscles.It is extremely frustrating because everyone tells you to exercise and do your stretches when you know it really doesnt help that much. I've been going to a massage therapist for about 4 months now and she does it out of her home. She does relieve me , she gets DEEP in there . I just went there today and she asked if I have digestive problems , I'm not going to go into detail right now but my body may not be getting the calcium and magnesium it needs, so I'm going to look up Candida and see what I come up with. I'm skeptical but desperate to try anything!!!
I went to a health food store and talked with someone there. She had me answer some questions on a pamphlet and did some physical tests. I have cut out all white sugar, breads, processed foods and started taking Cal-Mag Citrate, Nutri-Calm, Proactazyme( for digestion). It has been almost a week and I cannot believe the difference. My body must have not been getting the vitamins and minerals it needed because of poor digestion. I would have never thought it would be something like that!!! I will tell you it is very hard to cut out all the convenient foods, but it was worth it to me to not be in constant pain. I think it will take a while for my muscles to heal but I think and hope this will work. I hope you will at least try it for a week and see if it works for you. I've been in a much better mood!!!!
My massage therapist printed something out for me, go to [url="http://www.acu-cell.com"]www.acu-cell.com[/url] and look under disorders, muscle spasms and cramps. Maybe that will help you understand whats going on better. I thought it was interesting.