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  • Upper back/neck/shoulder spasms

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    Old 07-22-2002, 09:45 PM   #1
    Join Date: Jul 2002
    Location: NY
    Posts: 481
    stolie HB User
    Upper back/neck/shoulder spasms

    Hi all,
    I have had a bunch of worsening symptoms and was wondering if they may be caused by cervical spondylosis or perhaps another problem.
    An MRI from last December - after I went to the doc with neck pain and severe shoulder pain - showed narrowing of disc space at C5-6, bone spur formation and disc bulge with reversal of cervical lordosis from C4-7. No stenosis or encroachment on the neural foramina.
    Left shoulder MRI revealed rotator cuff tear, which I had surgically repaired seven weeks ago (still painful, slow recovery.)
    Anyhow, in the months preceding the shoulder surgery, and in time since, the pain in the back of my neck and tops of my shoulders has worsened.
    I get painful muscle spasms in the back of the neck and between the shoulder blades, with crunching sounds in the neck every time I turn it or move my shoulders.
    Sometimes the spasms are so bad as to cause my neck to twist (I guess it's called torticollis). PT, stretching, anti-inflammatories have failed to break the spasms, which worsen with activity.
    Does this sound familiar to anyone? I know DDD in the neck causes pain in neck, between shoulder blades and in shoulders, but severe spasms/cramping like this?
    Just got new MRI of neck and shoulder done and see orthopedist on Thursday.
    Any reply would be appreciated!
    <p>[This message has been edited by stolie (edited 07-22-2002).]

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    Old 07-22-2002, 11:57 PM   #2
    Join Date: Jul 2002
    Location: KY
    Posts: 2
    Packrat3wires HB User
    Re: Upper back/neck/shoulder spasms

    I am currently going through the same thing (10 weeks). My upper arm feels like someone has a branding iron on it much of the time. I even have the same crunching sound in my shoulder. I had an epidural last week to help control the pain and to help pin point the root of the problem in my neck. It appears the c-5 / c-6 causes symptoms similar to what you are describing.

    Have they done a maylogram yet to view the nerve root holes and to see if you have a herniated disk? If you haven't had one yet you will probably be asked to have one at some point. MRI's are good but can't really tell the whole story. Do what the doctor says and you should do fine. I am scared to death of needles so they gave me a Valium prior to the procedure. (Let your spouse or parent drive you home afterwards).

    Good luck and hang in there. Above all else find a good Neurologist! I drive 2 hours to Nashville to be seen at Vanderbilt. There are truck loads of docotrs out there who will cut you open in a heartbeat. There is a lot they can try prior to surgery to help eliminate or control the pain!!! keep us posted.

    Old 07-23-2002, 08:20 AM   #3
    Join Date: Jun 2002
    Location: Boston
    Posts: 1
    lizbeth2 HB User
    Re: Upper back/neck/shoulder spasms

    Hi Stolie,

    I have suffered from the severe spasm/pain between the shoulder blades and also have cerfical DDD/stenosis. I was out of work for 2 weeks. Have you tried massage therapy on a weekly or every other week schedule? I found that it really helped (hurt...but helped) Also muscle relaxers and taking it easy helped. Ice really helped too. I also used a soft collar to limit movement. That was about 6 years ago. Now when it starts I go immediately to massage and ice and only use anti inflammatories. I'm sure in your case the rotar cuff is not helping the situation. That pain is the worst. I know its not easy taking it easy but try. Let us know how you make out.


    Old 07-24-2002, 01:06 AM   #4
    Join Date: Jul 2002
    Location: NY
    Posts: 481
    stolie HB User
    Re: Upper back/neck/shoulder spasms

    Thanks so much for the replies!
    Packrat - I definitely am going to ask my orthopedist on Thursday to recommend a good neurologist. I've had a host of intermittent symptoms in my arms and fingers in addition to the spasms that I mentioned.
    Lizbeth, the massage sounds like a great idea! I haven't tried that yet, but I'm going to look into whether it's covered by my insurance. Flexeril helps, but as soon as I stop taking it, the problem's back.
    Actually, I had my cousin who's a doctor (although he's an internist and not an expert in these areas) look at my MRI, and he said he thought I might have a compression fracture at C5. The front of the vertebra is a lot shorter than the back and looks a little funny.
    Well, I guess I'll find out Thursday and let you know. I'm only 29 years old, and sometimes I feel like I'm 80! Again, thanks for the replies!

    Old 07-24-2002, 02:21 AM   #5
    Join Date: Feb 2002
    Location: Michigan
    Posts: 319
    Nanner HB UserNanner HB User
    Re: Upper back/neck/shoulder spasms

    Dave, this sounds really familiar. I had a herniated disc at C6-7 and what hit first was intense spasm of my muscles from the inner right shoulderblade up to my shoulder. I could barely move my arm.

    At the same time my brother slipped on the ice and tore his rotator cuff, so you have managed to equal our plight all by yourself. I can't imagine that much pain all at once. At least you have half repaired at this point, but OUCH!

    My PT for over a month was ultrasound, ultrasound with electric stimulation and massage on the area, as I was so tight they didn't dare do anything involving movement of the area. What kind of PT did you have? This didn't remove the numbness (no mention of that in your post, which is good) but at least gave me enough flexibility to function. Once it loosened up a bit, then I could feel the neck pain.

    You might ask for a different muscle relaxant. I started with Flexeril, but had more relief with Skelaxin.

    Keep us posted on what the ortho says about your MRI, it's a good start test-wise.

    Old 07-25-2002, 12:36 AM   #6
    Join Date: Jul 2002
    Location: Texas USA
    Posts: 6
    Music HB User
    Re: Upper back/neck/shoulder spasms

    Hi you have Reversed cervical Lordosis this will cause
    Spasms !! Just a FYI

    this is my problem:

    Reversed cervical Lordosis
    Multilevel spondylosis at c-4-5 there is a right paracentral anterior
    epidura structure that is either a Spur or calcfied disc herniation. It
    effaces the anterior subarachnoid space and appears to flatten the antrtior
    suface of the right side of the cord.
    At 5-6 there is a variable posterior endplate spurring along with left sided
    uncovertebral spurring , there is at least mild to moderate narrowing of the
    left foramen. At 6-7 there is a left paracentral focal posterior endplate
    spur or calcified small dic herniation.

    See I know how you feel ! take care

    <IMG SRC="">

    Old 07-25-2002, 05:43 PM   #7
    Join Date: Jul 2002
    Location: NY
    Posts: 481
    stolie HB User
    Re: Upper back/neck/shoulder spasms

    Hi everybody,
    I visited the orthopedist today and got the results of the MRIs. Turns out, I now have DDD at C6-7 also, and some narrowing of the foramina at C5-6 and C6-7.
    Also, and this stinks <IMG SRC="">, my rotator cuff tendon is torn yet again. That more than anything else could be accounting for the horrible pain I'm in.
    Anyway, the doctor has referred me to a neurologist. First appointment I could get was Aug. 20 but I'm going to shop around to see if I can be seen sooner.
    Thanks again for all the replies. It helps to know people out there understand.

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