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what does spasticity feel like?
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what does spasticity feel like?

i was wondering if any of you who use this forum experience spasticity and what it feels like. i often have some strange sensations in my legs and wondered what they might be. i have not been daignosed with MS but am still going through tests to completely rule it out as i have some symptoms that suggest it as a possibility.

thank you in advance for your help.  
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222135_tn?1236491821
I have no diagnosis yet either. Right now, spasticity is my most bothersome symptom. My leg and neck (until recently only the left side) become extremely rigid - feels like cement. Frequently, the muscles will contract so tightly, it's like the worst and longest-lasting "Charlie horse" you can imagine. My toes will often end up pointing, some up and some down, and my foot will be pulled into what looks like a letter C. When my neck does it, it goes up around my head too (muscles I didn't know I had). It really does hurt quite a bit.

I can sometimes tell when spasms are coming. I will feel twitches and flutters in that area first - not always but often.

I work with people with cerebral palsy whose bodies are tightly spastic like this every day and aren't verbal, so they can't tell you about it. I already had a great respect for these folks, but now.... I just can't imagine how they cope.

Not sure if I amswered your question. There are alot of folks on this forum who really know their stuff. They can surely help.

Good luck and God bless.

Pennst8r
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Avatar_n_tn
thank you so much for your information.  it was very helpful and informative. i'm so sorry that you are sufering, it sounds extreme and painful.  the symptoms in my legs are nowhere near as severe as that. i hope you get a dx soon.

hugs
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Avatar_n_tn
I agree with Pennst.

I live with chronic spacticity effecting my legs,they are lile ever lasting charlie horses,some release on there own others I will have to take mega doses of valuim or my son's usual is to call an EMS.

They can be brought on by movement or just occur while I'm sitting.

Getting into a good stretching routine will definatly help prevent some of the spasms.

I'm currently  working through PT and my neuro has me on a cocktail of 3 meds to lesson the tightening of the muscles.

I do have a DX of MS and after this last attack and previous ones they always target the legs and the spasms intensify.

But truelly any that reads this please stretch daily,several times it will lesson the spasms and in will prevent muscle shortening.Try to keep it under control and there are meds that are available to help (Baclofen,zanaflex,valuim,quinine) they can give some releif.
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220917_tn?1309788081
Do you ever feel tightness in your hips and behind your knees?
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Avatar_n_tn
Yes,I can get extreme tightness behind my knee's to the point that I can't extend them.

Usually this occurs each time I  have a MS attack .

I'm currently in PT to help lesson some of this.

As the spasms increase the muscles pull across the joints.Causing great pain.

Getting into a routine of stretching several times a day will minimize some of the spasms,meds alone don't get it.

I stretch 5 or 6 times a day even with PT.



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220917_tn?1309788081
Sorry to hear that.  This may sound weird, but do you ever feel tight under your ribs?  Sometimes I get crampy where my underwire lays across, if you don't mind me getting a wee too personal!  And across my back, too.  Like if I were to take a deep breath it would really hurt.  Do you ever get that?

Christina*
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147426_tn?1317269232
Hi, I'm glad you're still around.  What's happening with yur work up and how are you feeling?

I have spasticity, but not at all as severe as Penn and Lynn.  Mine is categorized as mild, but it still really intereferes with my functioning.  After the fatigue, which for me is unrelenting and crushes every attempt at activity, the spasticity limits me the most.  

Spasticity is increased tone in a group of muscles.  For each movement you make, in general, there are at least two opposing groups that work to allow it.   In the case of hip movement there is the group that allows flexion.  These allow the hip to bend forward so that you can stride forward with the leg or lift the knee.   The opposing group of muscles, the hip extensors, pull the leg back and pull the knee down.   If you decide to lift your right knee (which causes flexion at the right hip) , your brain sends out a signal to contract the hip flexors.  It ALSO simultaneously sends out a signal to the hip extensors to relax and allow the flexors to work.  This dual signal system works pretty much throughout the body.

When the brain or spine is damaged in MS often the balance of the "act/relax" gets upset, and one group of muscles is constantly sent a signal to act or contract, even at rest.  Even when the opposing set wants to contract the spastic muscles don't get the signal to relax and let the action happen.  In it's worst form the muscles contract all the time, even so hard as to cramp them up and cause severe pain.  They prevent motion, and over time they begin to shorten.  If they are not regularly stretched this shortening can become permanent.  That's why Lynn is SO correct about the need to stretch many times a day.

In my case the spasticity is in my right leg extensors, especially at the hip.  As I walk, when I need to bring my right leg forward in the stride it feels stiff and really heavy like I have a huge weight around my ankle that I can't swing forward.  When I'm standing I can only lift my foot about 4 inches off the floor.  So just walking so very tiring, even just around the house.  As I walk the active motion increases the signal to my leg extensors including the muscles that extend (straighten) my right knee and the muscles (the calf muscles) that extend the ankle pulling the toes downward (pointing the toes).

When I walk the spasticity pulls my toes down and they don't clear the floor so I trip over my foot and drag the foot with every step.  It's like I have a "foot drop" even though I actually CAN dorsiflect my ankle (pull my toes all the way up) when I'm just sitting around.  The spasticity overpowers the other muscles,  I wear a brace so I can walk normally.

The spasticity extends all the way into my back.  If I sleep flat my right buttock and lower back goes into painful spasm, so I sleep in a recliner to keep my hips bent all the time.

I'm long-winded as always.  Sorry.  In my case spasticity feels stiff, heavy and makes me work harder, but I don't usually have have actual spasms.  It adds to my fatigue by making actions harder to do.

So that is what spasticity feel like when it's milder.

Quix
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220917_tn?1309788081
I am trying to understand this very confusing notion of spasticity...Oy!
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220917_tn?1309788081
It's me, Quix, Momzilla, Christina.
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220917_tn?1309788081
We love it when you're long-winded!  Spasticity is fascinating and terrible.  I'm sorry it causes you all such trouble.  Well explained, Quix.

Chris*
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147426_tn?1317269232
Hi, Chris, I was answering Caramac22's original post.  You and Lynn got in an exchange while I was writing my epic discourse.  Cross posting can be so confusing.

Read my description.  Yes, you can have increased tone (spasticity) of the muscles in the trunk.  You would likely feel a "pull" or a crampy feeling on one side.  If it were exactly the same all the way across your abdomen or back, I would think of something else, though spasticity would be possible I guess.  The thing about spasticity is that it's presence in pretty constant. It may vary in intensity, but it's usually there.  Lynn do you agree?

Quix
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220917_tn?1309788081
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220917_tn?1309788081
Oops.  Maybe my underwear's too tight.  I get tight jabs under my ribs if I breathe too deeply.  (I don't smoke, never have.)  It seems like it goes either all the way under my chest or across my back.  But I pay way too much attention to every little nuance of my health of late.  I'll wait for some objective evidence, and see what turns up.
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Avatar_n_tn
Quix,

I agree.My spasticity has created  so much havoc that I wear a KAFO on the right leg and a AFO on the left leg just to keep them where they need to be.

Ya all need to stretch.

I hate the the lower parispinal spasms,thank god they only occur occassionally,not much keeps me down,but them will inconpacitate me.

With spasticity,ya can't let it get chronic,it will debilitate a person if allowed,listen to your bodies,when we all get charlie horses are natural reaction is to stretch it.

With my spasms,any slight movememnt can trigger a full blown rigid attack,they are exhausting,painful and I have had times where it has taken a muscle 2 hours to relax and get releif.These spasms has hindered my walking and cause me to be fatigued.

SO LADY's STRETCH,buy some of the thera-bands they come in real bright colors and keep those muscles STRETCHED.
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Avatar_n_tn
The pain you describe around the chest area could be coming from your bra verses muscle spasms.I'd try changing the bra issue and go from there,underwires can apply pressure which can result in pain.

Also we have tiny muscle fibers running through our rib cage which can be irratateded by a cough or a common sneeze and sometimes they get slightly imflamed.

Another thing that came to mind is what they call an MS HUG but to what you are describing doesn't seem to fit the this catagory.A MS HUG is when it feels like someone is hugging or I refer something is sucking the life out of your rib cage.It can start at chest level and end at your waste.Just like I wrote it a MS HUG,extremely tight pressure band like feeling  around the trunk,when I first experienced this thought I was having a heart attack.No it was just my MS giving me a hug,one hug I can do without,it can cause ya to catch ya breath if ya aren't use to it or ever dealt with it.It scared the **** out of me.
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Avatar_n_tn
thank you all so much for your posts. it is very helpful and i think i can safely say that i'm not experiencing spasticity. i do feel some tightening and pain mainly in thighs and upper left arm but its not severe and seems to come in waves.

everything you have all described sounds severe and very painful.  mine luckily is very manageable. i will do some stretches though as it can't hurt.

i wish you courage with your symptoms.

hugs of the non MS variety to you all
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Avatar_n_tn
hi quix,

i'm not too bad. thank you for asking. unfortunately i'm not further along in my work ups. being in the uk and using the National Health Service means its free but i have to wait for a long time to get tests. probably still another two months until i get the LP and Nerve conductor tests. but hey ho, thats how it goes. i've learnt patience this last 18 months. something i had very little of before.

good to see you're back. hope that you are as well as you can be. as always we are very lucky to have you and your insight here with us.

hugs
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Avatar_f_tn
Yes definitely feels like I am wearing a bra when I am not and the back hurts especially when washing the dishes or standing too long in one place
Does anyone get spasms around there chest and sometimes down as far as abdo and up into throat area like being squeezed by a boa really constricting and very painful esp when trying to go to sleep and first thing in am on waking so severe stops you breathing almost like simple partial seizures in epilepsy horrible when you are awake the whole time and feel like a fish out of water??
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Avatar_f_tn
When i have these charlie hourse feeling spasms in my legs and arms I use biofreeze on the muscle and then I let it relax. But mine are very few and far between and not very intense.
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5206664_tn?1365116076
It can be mild or sever, everyone's different and I don't like ppl who downplay others symptoms at all. It is also very off n on depending on the weather, stresses,  ect. Suggested book is Kathryn R Simpson " The MS Solution". MS is also from environmental toxins such as in our food, air and water purposely with Mercury and more. Shuts down the Thyroid and Adrenals. Research for yourself and be your own doctor. Quit looking outside for answers and look within. :) Peace.
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5206664_tn?1365116076
http://www.nationalmssociety.org/Symptoms-Diagnosis/MS-Symptoms/Spasticity
Here ya go.

http://www.chicagonow.com/ups-and-downs-of-a-yoga-mom/2014/01/multiple-sclerosis-and-cold-weather-dont-mix/
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5112396_tn?1378021583
Nope. Sorry. As these replies are public and cached on google depending on the key words someone is searching for... the cause of MS has not yet been discovered, by the person you named or anyone else.

Also,telling someone to be their own doctor is dangerous, irresponsible advice. We always advocate for people to try and try until they find a doctor who is responsive and respectful of their experiences and issues, but never, never to be their own doctor.
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