Mid-back muscle spasms

Posted by ksdm @ksdm, Mar 12 3:48pm

Does anyone else have thorasic muscle spasms in their back? I have been getting them about 4 times a year for 20 years. They usually last about 6 weeks and go away at night so I can sleep. I have tried all medicines that might be appropriate and nothing stops the spasms during the day. Sitting, lying, standing doesn't matter. The drugs make me feel sick and can't eat and I can't afford to lose weight. Wrecking my life!!

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Spine Health Support Group.

@ksdm Welcome to Connect. I am a cervical spine surgery patient and have done a lot of physical therapy. My question to you would be, what are you mostly doing during the the day when your back hurts? If that is slouching forward perhaps over a computer screen, then you are using back muscles to hold that position.

Your most ergonomic posture is to stack the spine straight instead of bent forward, and you will use a lot less effort to do that with good posture. I have found that what really helps me develop core strength is riding my horse at a walk while I sit up straight. That exercises the muscles I need to hold that good posture and makes me much stronger and supports my spine. You can do a very similar movement by sitting on a large therapy ball and rock like you are on a horse while sitting up straight.

The other thing that helps me is to mobilize my spine every once in a while to make sure it moves and doesn't get stuck. I can use a foam roller crosswise and lay on it on my back and roll up and down, or use a wooden body back roller that gives a deep massage to the muscles next to the spine when I lay on it without touching the bones. That will pull the vertebrae back into alignment by massaging the muscles and release any gas bubbles trapped in the spine and often give a cracking sound. This is something I do, but not everyone should do this if their spine is too fragile. That would be a question for a doctor or physical therapist if that type of stretching with a physical therapy maneuver is right for you.

Are you physically active?

Jennifer

REPLY

Thanks, Jennifer. It's not my posture that brings on the spasms it is doing repetitive things with my arms, like gardening. Lifting has never brought the spasms on. I've had MRIs, CT scans, X-rays and they show nothing out of place with my back. It's just the muscles. I tried PT and it brought on another back spasm! When I get a muscle spasm it usually lasts 5-6 weeks. I guess it is just weak muscles but then I am afraid to do physical therapy for fear of another 6 weeks sitting in my chair with the heating pad!! I've been to orthopedics and pain management clincs and no resolve. Thanks for your advice!
Susan

REPLY
@ksdm

Thanks, Jennifer. It's not my posture that brings on the spasms it is doing repetitive things with my arms, like gardening. Lifting has never brought the spasms on. I've had MRIs, CT scans, X-rays and they show nothing out of place with my back. It's just the muscles. I tried PT and it brought on another back spasm! When I get a muscle spasm it usually lasts 5-6 weeks. I guess it is just weak muscles but then I am afraid to do physical therapy for fear of another 6 weeks sitting in my chair with the heating pad!! I've been to orthopedics and pain management clincs and no resolve. Thanks for your advice!
Susan

Jump to this post

@ksdm Susan,
What I can think of that may help is soaking in a tub with Epsom salts. Your body will absorb the magnesium which helps relax muscles.

Many people have overly tight chest muscles, and something like myofascial release may help. It's kind of like massage and it stretches out the tight muscles and gets it moving better. When gardening, you're supporting the weight of your arms and perhaps that might be working against tightness on the front or shoulders. With MFR, it would not be exercises in PT, it would be hands on work by the therapist.

Here is our discussion om MFR where you can learn more.

Neuropathy- "Myofascial Release Therapy (MFR) for treating compression and pain"
https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/myofascial-release-therapy-mfr-for-treating-compression-and-pain/

There is a provider search at http://mfrtherapists.com/

I have done this for several years and it helps me a lot.

Jennifer

REPLY

Funny you mention Epsom salts. A friend just gave me some and suggested I try a soak. Before I even tried it, my spastic muscle just stopped. I will keep the salts for the next attack. Thank you. Susan

REPLY

Thank you for your information!

REPLY
@ksdm

Funny you mention Epsom salts. A friend just gave me some and suggested I try a soak. Before I even tried it, my spastic muscle just stopped. I will keep the salts for the next attack. Thank you. Susan

Jump to this post

Susan - I love that your back spasms got "scared" when you threatened them with Epsom salts...and disappeared spontaneously. A new treatment program is born?

REPLY

@ksdm im going thru something similar right now and doing PT for 4th time. Maybe you should consider an exercise physiologist to strengthen your back muscles since your testing found nothing you indicated. What ever activity you’re doing is causing these to occur. You might try getting a large cold pack to lay on when you spasm. From a physical medicine perspective cold stop’s muscle spasms.

REPLY

Thanks for the cold idea. I usually go for the heating pad. I will try an ice pack or a bag of peas next time.
Susan

REPLY
@ksdm

Thanks for the cold idea. I usually go for the heating pad. I will try an ice pack or a bag of peas next time.
Susan

Jump to this post

Yes ice is best. Also find a medical masseuse. Mine was better than PT.

REPLY
Please sign in or register to post a reply.