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Severe upper thoracic muscle spasms MS diagnosed
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Severe upper thoracic muscle spasms MS diagnosed

Hi, I am a 32 year old female.  I haven't really been on this forum much, other than last year when I was yet diagnosed with MS and at the time was having some really bad (left side only) upper thoracic muscle spasms that were causing my third rib to keep subluxating.  Months later, and 2 MRIs (one of my brain, and one of my cervical/thoracic spine) revealing "active" lesions i was diagnosed with MS.  My pain last year with the upper left thoracic muscle spasms started in January -- got really severe by March and I spent the next 3 months in incredible pain.  However, by early June my life started to get back to normal.  A daily dose of Baclofen at 10mg 3x day made it possible for me to go back to work and start living my life again relatively pain free.  In September when I got the official diagnosis my neuro prescribed Copaxone -- i then started the daily injections.  My upper left back pain was still being managed with the baclofen and life was looking good.  That is until January 16th this year, when i was rear ended in my car on my way to work.  It didn't seem like much at the time, my car needed a new back bumper and the next morning I felt a little stiff, but not ever being hit from behind i figured this was normal.  Boy was i wrong, because 2 days later that unmistakenable pain in my left upper thoracic region started again.  Keep in mind that for the last 8-9 months my left trapezius has never really stopped spasming (especially at the top part of my shoulder and up into my neck) but the baclofen was doing its job of making the pain hardly noticeable.  Soon the spasms were once again out of control and my 10mg dose of baclofen was not touching the pain.  Desperate for help i went back to the Chiro i had been seeing last year for the third rib on my left side (under shoulder blade) that would not stop subluxating.  He told me that once again the rib (same one!) was subluxated and my muscles were spasming on my entire left thoracic region.  That was over 2 weeks ago and i am still in great pain.  My baclofen has been doubled to 20mg 3x day (helps a little but not much) and I have also been prescribed Tramacet for the pain (does nothing for the muscle spasms). I am frustrated and very depressed that this is happening to me again and wondering if anyone out there has ever experienced something similar to this and what they have done to fix the pain.  I have also tried massage (went yesterday, and today I feel 10x worse than i did, my entire back aches now), accupuncture (last year, still waiting for next week for an appointment -- last year i had dry needling down 6 times with no success) and Reiki (waste of my $$), and Relexology (feels incredibly relaxing but i don't think it has helped the spasms at all).  I appreciate anyone's advice or help as I am desperate to not let this put me down for as long as it did last year. Jasper389
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338416_tn?1260996698
Ooh, those ol' upper thoracic muscle spasms.  No fun!

Well, my personal opinion is that chiropracty isn't going to help the rib pain.  The spasms that you're experiencing are from nerve damage, and popping the small nitrogen bubbles in your back that keep your spine from being perfectly aligned...  well, it's not going to solve the basic problem.  Neither will reiki, reflexology, or acupuncture.

The last time I had a car accident, it took two or three days before I began to experience muscle strain.  This was before my diagnosis of MS.  I think you're having delayed pain from the accident, as well as spasms from the injury.  When I'm injured, I always get spasms.  Last time I broke my toe, I got the worst spasms in my calf.

So what to do?  You're taking close to the maximum dosage for Baclofen.  I think you can go up to 8, but my neurologist gave me a scrip for Zanaflex instead, and told me to add that to my daily pill regimen.  I'm not sure how it will help with the spasms - when I had them in my calf, I didn't have any.

You can also try heat.  It gave me only a little relief - but it was so excruciating that anything was better than nothing.
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562511_tn?1285907760
Hi.  A year and a half ago, I was rear ended and like you initially had a little stiffness.  Within two days I was on my hands and knees in spasm that lasted for hours on end.  It as as painful as childbirth - one of those don't touch me, don't look at me, don't talk to me scenarios.  I was in a bad way with many ER and Urgent Care visits, and trying muscle relaxants with no relief.

Finally I came upon an Urgent Care doctor who gave me a shot of Valium.  Valium can be a powerful muscle relaxant.  I was given an RX and would take it two days in a row, rest and apply ice.  Be careful with heat because as good as it feels, heat causes inflammation and will worsen the pain. (if the spasm is from muscle injury) You can alternate heat and cold, but always finish with an ice pack.

For months, certain movements would irritate the muscle/nerve and cause another spasm from hell.  Even clapping at a graduation made the pain/spasm come on full force.  Then I'd take a Valium.  

It was a lifesaver but can be addictive so be very judicious if you give it a try.  Ibuprophen helped too.  Ice packs. Rest.  Then repeat.  It took a long time to get better.  

I don't know how this med can be worked with when taking Baclofen.  

After about 9 months I was able to tolerate accupuncture.  Massages that I had early on badly irritated the area.  The spasm started at the bra line and worked its way up into both shoulders and neck.  It was truly awful.

Good luck.  I cannot emphasis enough to try ice packs.  Your chiropractor should have those large gel pack types.  It will help if there is a whiplash type injury.  




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738075_tn?1330579444
I'm with Karen on this one. Valium and it's relatives are very effective with muscle spasms.

I get those same spasms in my R ribs.  Feels like the ribs are going to pop right out of my sternum and vertibrae!  Ooowww!

I'm on Baclofen 20 mg, 3x/day, and I alternate between 5 mg of Valium and medical marijuana as needed.
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755322_tn?1330272714
I will agree with Karen and Guitar_grrrl. Valium is amazing at stopping controlling the muscle spasms.

I started out with baclofen and didn't get along with with it. Dr switched me to Valium and it stopped the spasms so I could breathe. It was just amazing. I got muscle spasms around the rib cage like a vise. It was horribly painful. Nothing my chiropractor and acupuncturist could do to stop the spasms as they are caused by lesions. Once you get the spasms under control the ribs will quit subluxing.

As with all addictive drugs, try to take the minimum you need and be happy to be spasm free. Should you ever not need valium anymore, there are plenty of ways to wean off it slowly with little or no side effects.

When you need a drug, don't worry about getting addicted, just use it! We are not drug abusers, we need the result the drug can provide to live our lives more comfortably.

Of course there are other drugs to try if Valium is not for you. Zanaflex works great for some, and flexeril works great for others. As we are all different, it might take a test of several to find the right one for you and your body pr a combination of 2 or more.

Hang in there!

Jessica
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Hi Khiba, thanks for the response -- i appreciate the support :) I will be talking to mydoctor about Valium when I go see her. The only thing that I am a bit worried about it that someone once told me that Valium (diazepam) could bring on a psychosis in someone.  I have mental illness (biological father has bi-polar disorder) in my family tree and so this worries me -- but I am a bit of a worry wort so I will take about it as an option with my doctor because so far the Tamacet + baclofen doesn't seem to be strong enough to keep the spasms from subluxating my rib.

  I went for a massage the other day, and while it felt okay at the time, later that evening and all through this weekend my muscles are screaming bloody murder.  I now think that i may have a rib subluxated on my right side - which is my "good" side in terms of spasm + pain.  I've only had issues with my left, but over the weekend my right side (right under the shoulder blade) is starting to feel like my left always does.  Have you ever had any experience with a reaction like this to massage?  I really hope I haven't hurt myself worse, i was only grasping at options to release these damn spasms.  Last year when this happened I got a few regular (very light touch) massages and they did not do this to me.  What really frustrates me is that i don't understand how a very minor whiplash accident could have caused me to spiral back into this much pain.  I thought my spasms were under control - heck for the last few months i was even forgetting to take my afternoon baclofen because I didn't have any pain.

Thanks again for your comments -- I really appreciate hearing from others as i am fairly new to this whole MS thing.
Jolene
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I just wanted to thank everyone for your responses -- I really appreciate the help. :)
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198419_tn?1360245956
Hi there,

Bet you aren't getting a wink of sleep either are you? I do not have t-spine issues, but I do have c-spine herniations, and oh the pain.

I've only found relief in anti-inflammatories. Though when it's real bad, nothing helps, only time. Sittin makes it worse, as does laying, and found I was dog tired from not sleeping, so what's a person to do! uuugh.

I hope you find a combo that helps ease the pain a bit so you can rest and heal. If you are able to take advil (naproxen is what I take), do it. even the smallest reduction in inflammation will bring you some much needed relief.
-shell
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Avatar_f_tn
I have been reading on MS and I have not been diagnosed.  About 1 year 6 months back I began having a pain under my left rib cage area.  I originally thought it was a hernia because when I would bend over to take the pool cleaner out of the pool or reach for soemthing, I would suddenly feel the weirdest pain.  It made me fall to my knees and it felt like someone was squeezing an organ under my skin.  I have not had that pain in awhile.  HOwever, I began having higher than my normal blood pressure and experiencing numbness on the right side of my face.  I also, began having problems at my workstation (ergonomic set up was incorrect) and an MRI showed a torn tendon that is going to require surgery.  I am usually very active, however I seem to be losing my coordination, energy and my surgically corrected eyesight has deteriorated requiring me to wear glasses.  I also had a Brain MRI when my face had gone numb.  I was having headaches, weakness on the right side of my body.  When the MRI came back, the nurse from my doctors office reported that everything was normal and that I had not had a stroke.  I asked for a copy of the MRI report and read that there was white matter observed with three possible indicators; TIA, Demyleniation, and the third was a condition normally observed in patients in their 60's.  I am 43. I am waiting for an approval for an MRI of my neck.  Another problem I have been experiencing is my right hand (same side as torn tendon) goes ice cold.  Not numb, it literally feels like ice, when my left hand is warm.  My hips joints deep inside are extremely sore and it is very painful.  I cannot sleep at night and in the morning I force myself to get up and face teh day.  What other tests should I push for?  (I have also had a Dexa Scan - same nurse reported it came back normal, hip xrays, I probably glo in the dark now.  Thanks for any feedback.
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Avatar_f_tn
I have been reading on MS and I have not been diagnosed.  About 1 year 6 months back I began having a pain under my left rib cage area.  I originally thought it was a hernia because when I would bend over to take the pool cleaner out of the pool or reach for soemthing, I would suddenly feel the weirdest pain.  It made me fall to my knees and it felt like someone was squeezing an organ under my skin.  I have not had that pain in awhile.  HOwever, I began having higher than my normal blood pressure and experiencing numbness on the right side of my face.  I also, began having problems at my workstation (ergonomic set up was incorrect) and an MRI showed a torn tendon that is going to require surgery.  I am usually very active, however I seem to be losing my coordination, energy and my surgically corrected eyesight has deteriorated requiring me to wear glasses.  I also had a Brain MRI when my face had gone numb.  I was having headaches, weakness on the right side of my body.  When the MRI came back, the nurse from my doctors office reported that everything was normal and that I had not had a stroke.  I asked for a copy of the MRI report and read that there was white matter observed with three possible indicators; TIA, Demyleniation, and the third was a condition normally observed in patients in their 60's.  I am 43. I am waiting for an approval for an MRI of my neck.  Another problem I have been experiencing is my right hand (same side as torn tendon) goes ice cold.  Not numb, it literally feels like ice, when my left hand is warm.  My hips joints deep inside are extremely sore and it is very painful.  I cannot sleep at night and in the morning I force myself to get up and face teh day.  What other tests should I push for?  (I have also had a Dexa Scan - same nurse reported it came back normal, hip xrays, I probably glo in the dark now.  Thanks for any feedback.
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