Discussions By Condition: I cannot get a diagnosis.

Mid-Back Muscle contractions

Posted In: I cannot get a diagnosis. 1 Replies
  • Posted By: finaid_lady
  • January 17, 2007
  • 02:41 AM


I have been having intermitent intense muscle contractions in my mid-back just below the shoulder blade which feels just like labor contractions. They become so intense it makes breathing difficult with the pain often radiating up the neck, down the arm, and wrapping around to the front of my rib cage. On a few occasions the same pains have occurred on the opposite side. This occurs at any time with no any known provocation, lasting from one week to three months. Muscle relaxers and pain meds do not seem to help. Most recently, I have recently tried Baclofen and Tamofel which worked for only a short time but is no longer effective. I have a hottub which only seems to ease some of the pain only while I'm in it. Heat packs take the edge off sometimes when the spasms aren't too intense. During these episodes, I have to lie perfectly still for about 20 hours a day until the pain goes away. I must work for 4 hours a day (pain or shine) to be able to pay the $1100. per month for health insurance I need to try to get this problem resolved. The insurance will be running out soon.

This problem began after I tried to keep a large walk-in freezer from closing. I twisted my upper body around to catch the door and pulled the handle quickly. The door had already closed creating a suction. I felt a tearing kind of feeling and started to feel intense spasms about a day or two later. It has now been about seven years since this first occurred.

I do not think the doctors believe I am actually having these contractions. I have asked to be admitted to the hospital to be tested and diagnosed, but my requests are ignored. I have gone to their offices while I am in spasm and they won't even look to see what is going on, they just keep giving me appointments and pills that make me suicidally depressed. They tell me to go to the emergency room, but they only give out more of the same pills. I truly believe these doctors and pain management centers are bleeding the insurance companies and patients out of all their money and turning people into drug addicts (I refuse to become addicted to drugs) before they actually will do anything. I am so discouraged.

I am thinking of trying a TEMs unit to see if it will help. Does anyone have any information on this type of problem and any alternative pain relieving methodologies.

Your input is appreciated.

Carpe Diem!

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  • :cool:Hi I have just read your story on 'wrong diagnosis' and i could be reading about myself. I have had exactly the same symptoms on my left side - for approx 7 years. I have just come across this web site and your info by pure chance and thought I needed to respond. I have the same intense muscle spasm that radiates from by spine, under my shoulder blade around my ribs 'just like labour pains'- no other way to describe it!!! difficultly breathing when the spasms are strong- to the point of taking my breath away, my rib cage feeling like it is going to collapse and the pain in my back and ribs is unbearable . I suffer daily with this problem- some days worse than others, and can only relieve it if i lie down with a heat pack under my back and do nothing for hours on end. I have tried a long string of 'strong' medication and nothing works. I have been to Specialists , Pain clinics etc etc with no positive results. I have had courses of cortisone injections down my spine and into the affected muscles etc etc. After several years of trying to seek medical advise from different avenues ,then trying many alternative therapies etc I was finally sent for an MRI by a Thoracic Surgeon. This showed I had a tumour growing on the inside of my spine. I was so relieved to have finally found what was thought to be the cause of this horrific pain and spasms that i didnt think any further about other outcomes that the tumour may have- like causing paraplegia or being cancerous. I had major surgery the remove the growth which was imbedded and growing from within my spine and into my lungs and Aorta. It was removed by entering through my ribs on the side and collapsing my lungs etc - not great at all. I suffered a lot of continual pain from the operation as well as further nerve damage from the operation itself. Much to my horror I didnt get any relief from the spasms and pain I had previously suffered with prior to the surgery. The tumour and its associated consequences were removed. But not my problem. Two questions remain. Did the tumour cause so much nerve damage over the previous years, that this was the cause- or did they just discover this tumour while looking for the cause and it had nothing to do with the pain and spasms anyway????I have really given up on trying to find help -I am so desperate to find an answer but so tired of the doctor /specialist trail i no longer know where to turn. The last specialist i visited suggested Botox into the muscles- but this has its risks as the area we are talking about is directly in line with the lungs and if the Botox should accidentally paralyze the lung (as is the intention to paralyze the muscle- to stop it going into spasm) then you are in big trouble. Still something to think about but are the risks too great !! & would it be completely successful anyway, without causing other problems! the verdict is still out on that.I have tried a EMS/TENS machine and i do get temporary relief ,especially when the spasms are at their worst. It has allowed some form of normality back in my life, for periods of time, so its definitely worth a try. I wear it most days but after nearly 2 years of constant use the effect is not as helpful - however- I would certainly recommend you try it. I use the EMS part of the machine and i admit much more regularly and for much longer periods than is suggested.My life has certainly changed with far reaching effects for not only myself but also my family . It puts limits on just about all activities and I have to 'prepare' myself for any social interaction- mainly by doing absolutely 'nothing' for the day before and wiring myself up to get me through. I have not worked since my operation.I hope for a 'miracle' or a breakthrough for treatment- but i too just dont know where else to turn.
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