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Avatar universal

What can cause extremely tight muscles / what can I do about it?

I've been prescribed two different muscle relaxants, neither of which helped; massage doesn't do anything either. I saw an orthobionomist about four times and the last time they were so bad she couldn't get them to move at all, and told me to see a doctor, as it was looking more like a neurological problem than a structural one.

Is it possible it's just stress? Because honestly nothing works. yoga and exercise make it worse, and other stress relief techniques do absolutely nothing. Yet my doctor seems pushing me to see a therapist, take antidepressants...but I've struggled with depression for years, it had been getting much better, and I've never had remotely similar symptoms. I guess I'm open to it all being psychosomatic but at this point, I really don't feel like this is a psychological issue.

I've been having other neurological symptoms lately -- extreme, unchangeable, unexplained feelings of anxiety (though I'm not that worried about anything?), constant pressure in the back of my head, extreme fatigue, muscle tension around my right jawline/ear, difficulty thinking normally, yellow and blue spots in my vision, visual snow, 'fireflies', what seems to be Raynaud's phenomenon, mildish head pain that feels like a brain freeze, general discomfort in head that never goes away. I've also noticed my spine seems to have curved around my neck area in the past few years...it's very noticeable, but I thought it might just be how my body is shaped? My doctor hasn't said anything and I've never thought to bring it up, but I'm wondering if this has to do with anything.
The only times I've felt better are twice when I had my head in a certain position (tilting seat in car back and keeping head straight with neck/back), but I've tried that again and while I feel better when I do that, it's not by much. Anyway it was like my mind actually started working normally again. The pressure and physical discomfort was still there, though, and everything came flooding back within 24 hours, no idea why.

I've been looking into stuff like Chiari malformation, POTS, Lyme disease...I have a neurologist appointment in two weeks but I'm really frustrated at how completely awful I feel all the time. It's impossible to relax. Any idea what I could do for now to relieve my symptoms, or what this could be?
11 Responses
Avatar universal
You asked for causes of your right muscles, so here is a website that may be helpful to you, it has a large list of causes for your muscle contractures:


Also, meningitis or lupus can sometimes cause your muscle symptoms.  And you may have damaged your spine or have a torn tendon relating to this.

I might add something that may or may not apply to you, but when you mentioned antidepressants, I remember years ago some psych docs were trying diff drugs on me, and I discovered Phenothiazines will sometimes do this (like Stelazine, Thorazine, Phenergan, and Mellaril).  While the freezing of muscles that happened to me may not be your situation, I can at least sympathize with you.  When muscle contract to where you can't hardly swallow, it's really scary.  I went to the university clinic immediately, they gave me a huge shot of Valium (a Benzodiazepine), and it finally released my muscle tension.  Apparently the Stelazine I was given had this side effect, and gosh did it ever do a number on me!  Just a tip in case.

I do not know for sure what is specifically happening to you, but I wanted to tell you everything I knew and found about, as relates to your awful symptoms, in hopes it will help you get the right treatment.  I also want to tell you that NO, stress is not doing this; it is the other way around.  I personally hope you do not take antidepressants, but for all I know it's a good idea, but NOT UNTIL the docs have checked off all the things I mentioned and that website mentioned.  

You asked if there's anything that would help this for now.  I'm glad you're seeing a neuro in a couple weeks.  In the meantime, you may need at least a tranquilizer like Valium to maybe settle you down a little, and also perhaps a mild pain killer like Tylenol Codeine #3, which you could get a squeeze-in emergency appointment with your regular doc and ask for those, that is, saying could he please give you a tranquilizer and pain killer to tide you over until you see the neuro, OR you can go to an ER.  GG
Avatar universal
thank you so much! for a while I hadn't even looked into the causes of this specific symptom because I thought it would just be written off as stress, so I'm grateful you brought all of this to my attention.
620923 tn?1452919248

  Hi, if u think u have chiari, do have it  ruled out as it and related issues can cause the issues u r complaining about, the muscles, the depression,anxiety...

The problem with Chiari is meds usually do not help as it is a neuro issue that until it i treated may continue.

  Do post an update once u see the NL/NS...and do get copies of all ur MRI;'s and the reports.

   Good luck
Avatar universal
I found I have HEP C it has maby of those syntoms
Avatar universal
I can sympathize with you. Ever since early high school I have had back problems that have gotten nothing but worse with age. My entire back is so tight that one chiropractor (30 years experience) told me I had the tightest back he has ever seen and had a very difficult time adjusting me. I worked in jobs where I lifted heavy freight up to 70 hours a week, so I had a very muscular and strong back. Most of my early problems were lower back issues, primarily from sports accidents as a kid. Then the entire back became involved. Then I was bit by a tick, tested positive on the Elisa test for Lymes disease. At that point my hips began to hurt and my back went from bad to excruciating. The fatigue is terrible because Lyme's prevents one from reaching deep sleep. All I can do is lay in bed to control the pain as much as possible. I am disabled now and depressed all the time because I feel like I am 100 and just want the pain and fatigue to end. Unfortunately, the Neurologist who originally said I had Lymes did a Western Blot test which came back negative, so I have had no treatment in a dozen years. I have no doubt whatsoever it's lymes, because I remember the bite and bulls eye rash. Detecting Lymes is extremely difficult and often people go undiagnosed for life. In fact, I saw a documentary about Lymes on Netflix and a researcher took 10 cadaver brains from people who had died from MS, Parkinsons, Lou Gehrigs, Dementia, etc. and 7 out of 10 of the brains had Lyme's infection. The documentary said that doctors in America don't know what to look for, and often don't want to treat it because the treatment advocated by the CDC is inadequate. Insurance companies only want to pay for what the CDC recommends, meaning many people suffer with this for life. The tests used to detect Lyme's are quite fallible and inadequate. I have since been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia (which is a common symptom of Lyme's), major Depression (another symptom), arthritis in my entire back and hips and starting to develop in my knees and hands. I get tremors so bad I have to take a lot of medication to control them. It has made a heart condition I already have even worse, so I take more heart medications. At this point, with no end in site, I would sign any agreement to be a human guinea pig, so no one else has to live through this. They could put me to sleep for good and do their biopsies on me, or test any new drugs. Suicide is a constant thought. I went from being a two sport all-star athlete to being bed ridden almost everyday. My wife left me because she couldn't handle it anymore, and I have lost all my friends and most of my family. They don't want to be around somebody sick all the time. God, please end this for me!!!
4400123 tn?1354007049
I know that this is old but it may help anyone reading this. All of these symptoms are from chronic vitamin d3 deficiency and magnesium deficiency. There is a group  on this site for vitamin d recovery that has the most complete list of all of its symptoms. I myself am a recovering patient of vitamin d and had all of these symptoms. It took a while to heal and 9 months later I still have a few symptoms but life is much better. Go get tested!
Avatar universal
I went through 20 yrs of being diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and was given every med under the sun, ie., anti-anxiety, seizure, muscle relaxers, etc.  I finally found a neurologist about 8 years ago, who put me through every possible test and diagnosed me with Autonomic Nervous System Dysfunction.  This disorder can cover a multitude of possibilities, but unfortunately, there were only 2 patients in his ANS clinic that had chronic muscle tightness as their symptoms.  Most other patients had blood pressure issues, colon issues, etc., however, all ANS problems are caused by an overactive nervous system.  I have been seeing a chiropractor for most of my life and it's become our joke that there's no difference between my spine and a 2x4.  I see him twice a week and in the short time in-between visits my muscles (head down to lower back) become so tight that breathing & moving is difficult.  Massage therapy has also been a very temporary help.  Unfortunately, though my muscles feel looser and I feel more relaxed, afterward, the following day my body hurts all over and the muscles are starting to tighten again.  

It's been a horribly frustrating way to live.  According to my neurologist, as of 2 yrs. ago, there was no cure for ANS - only treatment of symptoms.  I've been searching, non-stop for as long as I can remember.  I continue on muscle relaxers, pain meds and anti-inflamm., but always searching and trying new herbal/natural supplements.

I try to stay optimistic and believe that there is an answer to slowing down the over-firing of the nerves in the brain - I just haven't found it yet.

I don't believe that anxiety is the cause - I believe its' a symptom.  I've even tried a naturopathic  Dr's. regimen to increase the dopamine and GABA in the brain - the calming chemicals.  It cost me a lot of money, but did nothing.  I'm don't fee that it's possible to alleviate the problem by only adding more calming substances to the brain.  Somehow, the brain needs to stop firing continuously and pouring these chemicals into our nervous system.

Sorry to ramble on.  I hope one of us finds someone who has an answer.  Take care.
My condition is similar .. the pains I get are back of neck and shoulder.  Neurologist diagnosed it as dystonia, but there is no head-twisting or other physical distortion, and it is completely unresponsive to BOTOX (which is the go-to treatment) , or dopamine, or relaxants or GABAs.   And it has been noted that when my knee is lightly lightly hit with the rubber hammer, I twitch all the way up into my thigh -- hyperactive nervous system.   Neural activity in my neck is constant and never quiets.  Docs don't have a clue.  Even had a rhizotomy to cut the pain-reporting nerves in my neck .. no help.  I have given up on finding a solution -- I just keep a stock of Vicodin on-hand and have accepted that my life is ruined.
Avatar universal
Hi, I have pernishus anemiea or cuz I can spell..B-12 defic. When Im in a lot of pain Im to give myself a 1000 mcg shot of B-12 it helps in like 2 days. Its for anxiety and all kinds of other things. My doctor told me it was caused from drinking, and I too have Fibromyaliga, RHA and Ostio. Plus Raynaud's, my mom had sclerderma and lupus as many others in my family have auto immune thyroid etc. which I too have, and when everything isn't running right Im so sore getting out of bed is a NO. I do anyhow, and work pulling weeds in my yard but seems that bending over helps my back , wow getting up is a no, so It brought me here tonite to this page as Im sitting and Relaxing in my chair my back feels as if its being pulled or wound up n it wont let go my doctor now isn't very good im working to get a new one that actually has this for a field, but many doctors are afraid to mess with me as im allergic to all n I have so many little things that they get confused. so where to go from here, Im sure this hasn't helped much because im where you are, I chalk it up to fibromyalgia as this is the center of all that is wrong to me. It cant hurt to try the B-12 they have clinics that use it as a pain relief and it seems to help even my husband if he has a bad pain week. so good luck to you I will check back n see whats been found... much happiness....
Avatar universal
I have suffered with a stiff back for a few years now.tried chiropractic, only got temporary relief. Been taking  assorted ibuprofens for years to no avail. Latest have a go is cocodimol which apparently  blocks the pain signals from brain to back muscles. Temporary euphoria. Pity, no wiser after reading experience of other contributors.
Avatar universal
It's been a while since you posted originally.  I have the exact same symptoms.  Any update?! Please?
Avatar universal
I also have many of these symptoms - stiff muscles (but my back is strong), lower back & hip pain, IBS issues most of my life, chronic urinary & sinus infections, hearing & vision sensitivity, kidney stones, headaches, etc.  I have tried most muscle relaxers (none of them work), antidepressants (Cymbalta was the only one that worked but I became allergic after 1 1/2 years), steroid dose-packs (worked temporarily), lots of ibuprofen, intense stretching classes twice a week, sleeping pills, chiropractors and deep-tissue massage.  Nothing works after a while and the only thing that helps is medical marijuana (Indica) in a vaporizer because I hate smoke and it hurts my throat and lungs but the vaporizer doesn't.  I also use Ambien 2 - 3 times a week so I can sleep better.  

I just started a new therapy a few months ago and it seems to be helping more than anything else but it's expensive and a lot of doctors won't do it.  I did a lot of research and found the Marshall Protocol for chronic inflammation and it targets biofilm bacteria which we all have in our bodies but seems to get worse as we get older.  If you feel better when you are on antibiotics and then it gets bad again, you might want to try this.  It is definitely helping some of my symptoms but it is a long-term therapy.  Research this and see if you want to try it.  The medicine is a high dosage of a blood pressure pill (I don't have high BP though) called Benicar 40 mg. four times a day.  I buy it in Canada because it's so expensive (over $100 a month) but it's 1/7th the price in the states.  I don't have headaches very often any more, my photo-sensitivity has gone away, I'm sleeping a little better, my intestines & stomach doesn't hurt (or cramp) all the time, I have more energy and my pain seems to be less.  This is a serious therapy which you will need to discuss with your primary care doctor, but don't expect them to know anything about it.  You will have to do your own research online, print the articles and discuss with your physician.

I'm also getting ready to do Prolotherapy in February for my back pain.  Research it.  I'll let you know if it works.  I have a torn labum (hip joint) and my friend had this done with great results.
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