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Author Topic: Controlling spasms - what possibilities - if possible without medication?  (Read 3352 times) Bookmark and Share
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Lieveling
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« on: October 08, 2007, 03:57:29 PM »

Hello friends and experts!
As you know my boyfriend is a C6/C7 tetraplegic since his accident in May.

For the moment he is really battling with spasms and medication. His doctors are recommending increasing his medication and talking about injecting it directly into his spine if the increase in medication doesn't work. However, he would like to take as little medication as possible and would dearly love to try anything that would ease his spasms that's not medicine (the medicine he's currently taking really numbs his limps completely (liorozal/lirosal not sure how to spell it, think this is the French name). He has asked me to post this question for him, are there any methods people can recommend for self-control of spasms, therapies (psychological etc), alternative therapies such as reflexology?

He asks this as according to his mood, eg. if he's nervous about something his spasticity increases.......
All views and information most welcome. Many thanks.
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« on: October 08, 2007, 03:57:29 PM »

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Gary Anderson
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« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2007, 04:40:28 PM »

http://www.springerlink.com/content/n5559w25532458n9/

Lieveling

Not had a chance to read this entry yet, however, this is the first thing I could find about controlling your own spasms.

Article 2 http://www.rehab.research.va.gov/jour/00/37/1/sherwood.htm

Also, FES (Functional Electrical Stimulation) therapy can help with spasms. This was VERY successful with me when I suffered my spinal nerve injury 19 years ago.

I shall keep you updated.

Gary
« Last Edit: October 08, 2007, 04:44:30 PM by Gary Anderson » Logged

cauda equina lesion. Cord undamaged/intact (Accy. 1989) gammy arm & traumatic brain injuries (Accy. 2006)

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Apparelyzed
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« Reply #2 on: October 08, 2007, 08:56:21 PM »

Hi,

The best way to reduce muscle spasms without drugs is to desensitse the body from external stimulus.

I bet if your boyfriend sits still at the computer for an hour without moving, his spasms will be worse than if he was out shopping.

This is because the vibrations and movements of shopping desensitise his body, in such a way that his body isn't as sensitive to movement. Muscle spasms are caused by information passing from sensory neurons in the skin, and looping back through a reflex arc in the spinal cord back to the muscles. In the spinal cord the signal has to pass through a junction called a synapse, and it is in this synapse that baclofen works to block the signals.

If signals are constantly passing through the synapse, then a small tolerance is built up which blocks the reflex signals reaching the muscles, and therefore reduces the spasm.

So, if you can keep moving, your spasms will be reduced for a short time.

This can be done by going swimming daily, as all the water touching the skin desensitises the body. Other methods are range of movement exercises, vibration therapy, or my favourite, good old sex!

Any stimulus to the body will help reduce spasms, even the vibrations from a car ride.

But, if you have to go down the baclofen pump route, then I can recommend that as well, as I have had one for 15 years,  and it's really changed my life.

Simon.
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Apparelyzed
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« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2007, 08:57:45 PM »

By the way, Lioresal is just a brand name for baclofen.

Regards

Simon.
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Gazrobs
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« Reply #4 on: October 09, 2007, 09:00:38 AM »

Another excellent answer by Simon. I can vouch for some of it though I'm pretty incomplete if I sit for long periods then move (or yawn) I spasm & the same in bed if I wake up. If I move around more & swim/drive/walk a little it goes away.

I think Simon is right on the button about this subject (he should know) & folks I've met with a 'pump' all say it's changed their lives after any initial complications.

So keep exercising/moving & think about the 'pump' route is my 2C but I'm no doctor let alone spinal doctor but I see & read well:-))

Keep pushing  tard
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« Reply #4 on: October 09, 2007, 09:00:38 AM »

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wheels5894
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« Reply #5 on: October 23, 2007, 11:15:50 AM »

Can I join in for advice too, please?

I, on the whole, don't have much problem with spasms though my ankles seem to move into odd positions when I lie down. However, I am trouble sometimes with a large jerk which flexes my hips forward and sometimes repeats a few times. Trying to sleep when this happens is hard. Last night I had several 'jerks' and after each one I changed position but obviously not very well as it happened all over again.

In the past I have tried Baclofenac and Tizadinine to help with more troublesome legs spasms in the day and the Tizadinine worked well at the spasms but I felt a bit 'not with it'  which I didn't like. Sadly, nothing helped the night time jerks.

Any suggestions on what to do or try? I don't have the problem every night but it is very annoying when it won't go away. Thanks guys!
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Tremulous Tetra
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« Reply #6 on: November 19, 2007, 03:57:34 PM »

Can I join in for advice too, please?

I, on the whole, don't have much problem with spasms though my ankles seem to move into odd positions when I lie down. However, I am trouble sometimes with a large jerk which flexes my hips forward and sometimes repeats a few times. Trying to sleep when this happens is hard. Last night I had several 'jerks' and after each one I changed position but obviously not very well as it happened all over again.

In the past I have tried Baclofenac and Tizadinine to help with more troublesome legs spasms in the day and the Tizadinine worked well at the spasms but I felt a bit 'not with it'  which I didn't like. Sadly, nothing helped the night time jerks.

Any suggestions on what to do or try? I don't have the problem every night but it is very annoying when it won't go away. Thanks guys!
sorry mate, I just can't help laughing at that.  I will tell you why in a moment, but anyway to the topic of the thread for now.

Broke my neck in 1984.  The physio on the unit would always put me with the new physios as a bit of a joke, because my spasm was so bad.  I suppose everybody is different, but what I have done to manage them is try to sit or lie in positions which is one do not stimulate the spasm, and  tworeduce the effect of having a spasm.  But they are still quite bad, and once they get going can be quite lively.

Because of these spasms I have never taken up driving, so there are plenty of negatives, but in the main I am happy to live with them because I feel A/they are really quite good for your health.  In the morning they saved me going for a jog, providing a two or three minutes aerobic exercise. B/they keep the blood supply to your skin, tone in your skin, and the muscle bulk.  All of these are excellent for avoiding pressure sores. C/ I am able to use the spasms for all kinds of things.  For example I can stand up on them.  I can open my hand (using several techniques such as pushing the pram in particular position whilst inducing spasm in my triceps and wrist.

I would seriously advise to keep drugs to a minimum.  I know it may be stressful, will take some time to play with them and see how you could possibly make use of them.

If you can find the interest and you still definitely want to reduce them to the minimum, then in my opinion exercise is indeed the best.

PS.  Got to say this is only my opinion based on my experience.  Your friends may not be the same experience I am having.  If he/she wanted I would be more than happy to chat about this on the phone.

PS.  wheels5894 why I was laughing.  About four or five weeks ago I started getting a sharp jerk up pull in my right leg.  So I ignored it for a while, hoping it would go away.  I have had such in the past, and they have gone away.  Eventually went to the spinal unit.  The consultant did xray.  Only found out I might need a replacement with arthritis.  Couldn't believe it.  As a result at present, at times in bed I am having gay violent spasm in my rights like every 20 seconds.  SEVEN IN A NIGHT?  YOU LUCKY BASTARD!!!  Al la Monty Python Life of Brian.Cheesy
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friendlyblondmom
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« Reply #7 on: November 30, 2007, 10:36:41 PM »

My husband also uses a electric musle stimulator for his legs. This helps so much with the spasticity of his legs.
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