Charlie horse/spasm? what do i do?
by HoustonDogLove, Jun 07, 2011
Lately i have been having charlie horses? for no reason which take days to resolve on their own and yesterday i was just lifting my arm (not even a normal every day movement) and it was excruciating at first and now it hurts, i cant get comfortable. It hurts from the back right base of my head all the way out/under? my shoulder blade. I don't know if i need to call my neuro or pcp or what hoping someone will squeeze me in or maybe my neuro would call something in? Or would the chiropractor help? I'm lost and it hurts.
Related Discussions
Member Comments (13)
by bairdy, Jun 07, 2011
yes i can relate to this last summer i had this in my right shoulder blade for about three days woke up with it and could not lift my arm cos it hurt so much. felt like a trapped nerve or something as the muscles were so tight and it was making me droop my right arm like i had a stroke !!!! could not get comfortable.went to my doctor and he gave me pain killers . it was at that time i was waiting to see a neuro for MS investigation. im on baclofen now and gabapentin . so up to now its not hapened since but i do have very tight muscles in various parts . physio helps me keep supple so i know how you feel.
make an appt with your pcp ?? get it checked but sounds like me
hope this helps
regards bairdy
by Lulu54Blank, Jun 07, 2011
Ouch! It sounds very painful .  My thoughts are call the doctor - PCP - and get in today to be evaluated.  The neuro is most probably not going to be willing to rx somehting without seeing you first.  For now, I would avoid the chiropractor until you are sure where the problem is coming from.  You need to be cautious about any chiro manipulation that involves the neck.

feel better, Lu
by COBOB, Jun 07, 2011
This is something you need to talk to your neuro about.  When I got hit with spasticity in my right lower leg and under my shoulder blade, there was no plan in place.  He called in an order for baclofen.  Now, my doctor and I have a plan and I have baclofen on hand.

My doctor did think that the spasticity was related to the MS.  

by HoustonDogLove, Jun 07, 2011
Can you take balcofen as needed or do you have to stay on it? It's doing better but still hurts a bit, Haven't gone to the Doctor yet, had to work. I wrote this in the night thinking i was not going to go to work. but the more I moved around the better I feel I guess. I think I will make`an appointment next week If this is MS related it will keep happening. I think it may be heat related? Thanks for your comments
by COBOB, Jun 07, 2011
My doctor prescribed Baclofen as needed.  It really doesn't get up to a therapeutic level  like some drugs since it has a serum half life of about 6 hours.  I take 10-20 mg at bedtime or 10-20 mg every 8 hours as needed.  You should start with a 5 mg dose and titrated up for effect.  The Max daily dose is typically about 80 mg/day.  It wipes some folks out and it is related to Lyrica and Gabapentin, so they can potentiate each other.

by jensequitur, Jun 07, 2011
I recommend baclofen as well.  I had to argue/beg my neuro for the medication.  He thought Flexaril would be enough, but there are days when four (the max dosage) isn't enough.  Baclofen is something you can have in your system, and like Bob says, you can take up to 8.

I wouldn't recommend chiropracty, but you might try a massage therapist.  Massage doesn't fix the problem, but it gives me more freedom of movement.
by katie4242, Jun 07, 2011
I have been having charlie horse pain in my calves at night as well.  They come on when I plantarflex my ankles while sleeping, and are relieved almost instantly when I dorsiflex.  I have residual soreness for a few days.  I have to be so careful with my leg posture in the bed to keep them at bay.  Do you think this is related to my MS, or is it just a temporary abnormal / normal thing?

by COBOB, Jun 07, 2011
This is a common complaint and can be related to foot drop.  The large gastrocnemius muscles on the back on the leg overpower the weaker anterior tibialis muscles on the front of the lower leg.  The gastrocnemius muscles and muscles in the plantar foot seem to be prone to spasticity.  

My doctor says mine is MS related and pretty common.


by twopack, Jun 07, 2011
Ohhhhhh ladies, I can so relate to this.  Katie, I have to be very careful when putting my shoes on or I set off spasms in my calf by pointing my toe toward the shoe.  These are usually velocity dependent, meaning they are triggered more easily by rapid movements.  There is an excellent Health Page that explains spasms and spasticity.  (I'll look for it later.)

I take regular doses of baclofen now.  I tried taking it on an "as needed" basis for a while.  It can work to help you sleep if the main problem occurs at night.  My spasticity got progressively worse so I started taking it more often.  

I needed it four times a day during a recent flare.  It was hard to remember the mid-day doses until I would feel the muscles begin to tighten.  Then I'd have to wait for relief after taking a late dose.  For me, when the stuff wears off, that's it.  Relief is gone.

I've cut back to three a day again now that I'm feeling better.  I'm hoping to get adequate relief without the extra drowsiness.  Baclofen is one of those drugs that requires a taper when you decrease or discontinue the dose.  Seizures can occur if you don't taper.

I found it extremely helpful to get a physical therapy evaluation.  I had to ask for it but the MSologist was happy to write the script.  Physical therapists (the ones who specialize in neuro and/or MS) are masters at finding the not so obvious signs that many docs miss.  From there they can help prevent or postpone the bigger problems you would bring them down the line.

My co-pay is high for each PT session so I asked them to spend our time showing me things I could do at home.  I was taught a program of stretching to help control spasms.  It involves an extremely slow movement to stretch the muscles that OPPOSE the ones that spasm.  It is sometimes necessary to move forward in tiny baby steps.  

This is a maintenance program of home therapy that needs to be done even when the muscles are feeling fine.  It's not complicated.  I have nothing against drugs and have a few choices on hand to use when needed ('cause I'm no lover of suffering).  It's just my personal preference to try every non-drug remedy I can before adding more pharmaceuticals.

One last thing.  In the summer especially, it is important to make sure you stay well hydrated and you have adequate amounts of potassium, magnesium and sodium in your diet.  Sometimes a cramp is the same old cramp every other hot sweaty body is prone to get.