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    Old 07-16-2012, 10:44 AM   #1
    mlisko
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    Do I have spasticity?

    I am a 47 year old male. 6 years ago I started walking funny. My legs couldn't move the way they used to and it felt like I was walking knee-deep in water. I went to my doctor and he referred me to a neurologist. After a couple of months and a few tests and some MRIs this doctor referred me to a neurosurgeon. He took one look at my MRI scan and told me I have 4 collapsed discs in my neck and they need to come out. The following week I was in surgery for 8 hours getting those discs removed and had a bone fusion and a titanium plate put in. This surgeron also said I have developed spasticity but did not specify its long term effect. Since then my walking has gotten worse, not better. I am presently prescribed Baclofen. I recently lost my job and don't have insurance so I can't see my neurologist anymore but the last time I saw him he said I was improving. I differ with him because he doesn't know how I feel. I try to look up different symptoms of spasticity and cannot find what I have. I have also tried to look on the internet and would like to contact people who have the same thing I have and that is next to impossible. So if anyone out there can tell me do I have spasticity?

    Last edited by mlisko; 07-16-2012 at 10:45 AM.

     
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    Old 07-17-2012, 12:43 PM   #2
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    Re: Do I have spasticity?

    Hi there and welcome to healthboards. Spasticity is a very common term, which can be different when used describing different diseases/ diagnosis's.
    In general, the term means tightness and stiffness or the pull of muscles. Spastic muscles show increased resistance to stretching. Spasticity can be from a neurological disease such as MS, or it can be from your spinal surgery.

    Do you have it? More than likely you do- but its a symtom, not a disease. And, thousands of people have spasticity as a symtom, in the big picture, it means nothing...in the smaller picture, it means pain and being uncomfortable. Baclofen is a commonly prescribed drug for spasticity.

    Im not sure if knowing that you probably do have spasticity is really what you are trying to find out here. May I ask why knowing "what it is called" is important in the bigger picture? It appears you are being treated correctly for it~ a Physical Therapist may also provide you with some relief in the form of exercises and therapy..

    Understanding that you have lost your health insurance is definately a problem. You wil need ongoing therapy and medical attention- have you considered applying for Medicaid or any other state subsidized medical care? This is something you should look into immediately.

    How can we help? We can all tell you what Spasticity is...and probably all agree that you probably do have it, but how can we help you more specifically?

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    Old 07-17-2012, 12:43 PM   #3
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    Re: Do I have spasticity?

    welcome.

    Spasticity is tightness in your muscles. You should be able to determine this for yourself. The Baclofen is used to lessen or eliminate the tightness.

    As your situation was alleviated by a neurosurgeon, you would not have any MS concerns though spasticity is a burden many MSers carry. I stay well hydrated and stretch and move. These three things are the best things you can do. These are what my neuro has me do or make sure I do.

    You might want to check the Neurology Board which is not MS. That board may have other members who have had surgery similar to yours and can prove to be more empathetic to your current situation.

    Just to add. There is also a board for Insurance. If you are out of insurance, I would start a regiment of physical activity to work muscles which are affected. Pool therapy/swimming may do you well. Also make sure you are stretching daily.
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    Last edited by MSJayhawk; 07-17-2012 at 12:48 PM. Reason: add

     
    Old 07-17-2012, 12:59 PM   #4
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    Re: Do I have spasticity?

    I was just asking because like I said I have not found my symptoms anywhere that I see spasticity symptoms. And I would like to correspond with others who have this.

     
    Old 07-17-2012, 01:21 PM   #5
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    Re: Do I have spasticity?

    Try the spinal cord or Neurology issues boards here on HealthBoards, you may find more support there. Although we welcome you here on the MS board, I do not think the type of spasticity which we experience would be helpful to your situation; spasticity for MSers is caused by attack on the central nervous system and not caused peripherally, as you describe.

    I do hope you feel better...
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    Old 07-18-2012, 06:34 AM   #6
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    Re: Do I have spasticity?

    What do you mean by peripherally? I started having this condition before the surgery but the surgery did not help it seems and I am just trying to find and communicate with someone in my situation and it doesn't seem I can find anyone in my state.

     
    Old 07-18-2012, 06:59 AM   #7
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    Re: Do I have spasticity?

    The body has a central nervous system (CNS) and a peripheral nervous system (PNS). The symptoms to which you are presenting with concerns are part of the PNS, but because the PNS lies outside of the CNS it is dependent upon the CNS for relaying all of the signals. The CNS is like a server and the PNS are branch lines extending out from the server.

    there is a spinal association with local offices throughout the US. You might inquire with them to see if there are others in your area with similar problems. I only go to the MS Clinic (about 2 hours each way) every 6 months; therefore, I arrive early and visit with others with whom i share the same problems. You might find other patients in your area in greater numbers than you thought. You might also check with your doctor regarding support groups in your area.
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    Old 07-26-2012, 07:01 AM   #8
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    Re: Do I have spasticity?

    Sounds like spasticity to me.

    I too did not know what that word meant until I developed it after one of many, many surgeries and surgical procedures I have had on my spine - cervical, thoracic and lumbar.

    Since I am very athletic it was apparent when my legs started to "freak out" and I could not get them to work right - and my walking was labored..... I am currently experiencing this along with arm tremors or spasticity also

    I tried all kinds of prescription drugs on top of meditation and rollers for myofascial release (which I highly recommend especially if you do not have insurance-you can find these on the internet - google sports rollers or physical therapy rollers and purchase one) and the only thing that helps me is the Baclofen.

    It upsets me when doctors do spinal surgeries and your symptoms get worse yet they insist you are doing better.....After one of my surgeries on the lumbar spine I could not walk and had to relearn to walk - lost my job and applied for disability and my doctor told them I was 100% cured....yet I could not walk.

    I was a long distance runner prior to this surgery. - the doctor admitted to hitting the spinal cord and thus I had to lay flat for three days without moving following the surgery and it never healed called a pseudo - something or another....

    So my running career ends and I cannot walk - I worked my *** off learning to walk upright after this devastating surgery and still the doctor insisted I was fine....go figure.

    If you cannot work due to the spasticity - let me know and I will tell you what you need to do if you are considering disability.

    In the mean time I would "google" exercises that you can do and stretches and start doing them religiously - even if they seem lame to you - no matter how spastic your legs become exercise is your lifeline....daily exercise whatever you can muster.

    Let me know if you need help with the disability if that is where you are.....there are always lawyers that take these cases without charging unless you win (obviously if you are out of work and disabled you cannot pay a lawyer) and then they get part of your settlement (it is usually a law determined amount) -

    Been through all of this - Keep me posted.

     
    Old 07-26-2012, 01:22 PM   #9
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    Re: Do I have spasticity?

    I am in the process of applying for disability. I have been denied 3 times and I do have a lawyer helping me. I don't think I can work. And I have seen the report from the court when they submitted to my doctor and they say that I am getting better. But tell that to my legs. Anyway, talk soon.

     
    Old 07-27-2012, 03:49 AM   #10
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    Re: Do I have spasticity?

    I had the cervical surgery with the fusion and plates etc but I did not have spasticity at the time I had that surgery.

    I know that any spinal issue that causes pressure on the spinal cord - which sounds like what you had for many years - can cause damage to the spinal cord and/or the nerves that exit the cord - especially if you don't have it fixed for 6 years.....like you.

    The spasticity in your legs seems to be due to the 6 years that you had collapsed cervical disks and didn't know it - that would put a lot of pressure on the spinal cord/spinal nerves and then the nerves can become damaged - it can take a long time to recover nerve function and sometimes the damage is permanent.

    I know that nerves regenerate themselves and I know that my spasticity gets worse for a few months and then a little better -

    I had a spinal Baclofen pump put in and it helped the spasticity for 8 years - due to complications I had to have it removed and now I am toast as far as spasticity goes....

    My spasticity presents as muscles that are always contracted - like very tight muscles that don't respond to stretching and exercise - also I cannot seem to use my legs right - I walk funny and somedays my left foot drags and it is very hard to get my legs to do what I want them to do -

    Like you said - walking in water - it is like I have to sometimes manually put my legs where I want them to go -

    Did you have a total spine MRI - cervical, thoracic and lumbar? Did you have herniated disks or what specifically was the problem - collapsed disks sounds like your spinal cord could have been pinched or damaged which would show up on the MRI maybe......

    Did the collapsed disks impinge the spinal cord or spinal nerves exiting it - sometimes called foramen or foraminal openings? What did the MRI say other than you are screwed?

    Do you have enough info for a disability determination? While you are waiting you should strongly consider finding housing units that are for either low income or disabled persons - or apply for housing stipend....

    It took several years for housing to come through for me and it has been a life saver. I live in a beautiful apartment with regular people and Housing pays a portion of my rent - based on my income or lack of income.....

    Also, truly, truly consider learn ing another skill - even if it is working from home doing phone calls for companies or whatever. it is not possible to live on disability without other sources of income.....

    Keep me posted.....please fill in some gaps on what specifically your MRI stated and what grounds are you using for disability - since your doctor says you are doing better - of course your disks are healing but that does not mean you can walk or move around any better.....

    I will be praying for you while I fish today - I love bass fishing and I bass fish with my parents and brother - some of whom are professional bassers......it is a blast.

     
    Old 07-29-2012, 02:05 PM   #11
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    Re: Spasticity Issues, Anything New With How To Cope With Them?

    I cannot tell you if you have spasticity but I can tell you a bit about it.

    Whenever you move there are two muscles working in opposition to each other. One relaxes at the same time as the other contracts to make the motion work. Spasticity is when one of those muscles is firing (contracting) all of the time -- so much so that it overpowers the opposing muscle. The result is that range of motion is decreased. Often the muscle always feels tight (they call this tone) -- not to be confused with strength (because to build strength a muscle needs to relax and contract). Baclofen is used to relax the overactive muscle, to help increase the range of motion.

    I hope this is helpful.

     
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