Spasticity refers to feelings of stiffness and a wide range of involuntary muscle spasms (sustained muscle contractions or sudden movements). It is one of the more common symptoms of MS. Spasticity may be as mild as the feeling of tightness of muscles or may be so severe as to produce painful, uncontrollable spasms of extremities, usually of the legs. Spasticity may also produce feelings of pain or tightness in and around joints, and can cause low back pain. Although spasticity can occur in any limb, it is much more common in the legs. MS society
When walking around I have started to feel my hands curling back up when I straighten them they are fine for a while but eventually they start curling back so walking around like I am in a gangster rap video chucking out gang signs is the new me. Or I just keep them in my pocket?
Some symptoms of spasticity
- muscle tightness
- joint stiffness
- involuntary jerky movements
- exaggeration of reflexes
- unusual posture
- abnormal positioning of fingers, wrists, arms, or shoulders
- muscle spasms
- involuntary crossing of the legs (this is called “scissoring” because the legs cross like the tip of a pair of scissors)
- difficulty controlling the muscles used to speak
- muscle contraction that limits your range of motion or prevents your joints from extending all the way
- pain in the affected muscles and joints
- back pain
- difficulty moving
Muscle tightness and joint stiffness seem to go hand in hand. I’ve been trying to work out if there is a trigger but it just seems it is just way things are for the moment. So the feeling of walking through water with concrete shoes on is something that I used to only associate with fatigue but the fact I’m walking like I haven’t got any knees as well means not only is it fatigue but also spasticity.
Involuntary jerky movements, exaggeration of reflexes and muscle spasms are like having my own private breakdancing party where I’m the only one randomly throwing out the odd arm wave in a supermarket queue or body popping my way up the stairs to the loo. The thing with these jerky movements and muscle spasms is that they leave a lasting ache or a cramp, quite frequently I even pull a muscle in my leg and strangely it’s always my left leg?
Breaking into sporadic dance moves looks as funny as it sounds yet the pains it leaves behind are not so funny, it usually starts with a Michael Jackson leg kick with the ow thrown in for realism which invariably leads to a sore left knee which in turn makes me limp and this messes with my posture and causes me back pain making getting around awkward and painful.
It is tiring doing all these dance moves imagine my frustration when I do lie down and my body just wants to break into the worm egged on by the muscle spasms in my stomach I have little to no control over so I just lie back and try and watch me star in my own dance recital.
When things get too much I do RELUCTANTLY take the odd pill but on my terms.
I could and maybe should go to the Drs and get some strong pain relief or push for a strong dose of steroids to maybe stop the spasms but to what end? Am I then going to be reliant on these for ever? I always read about people who when they started having steroids they would work for 3 months 2 years later they only work for a few weeks? So I would first rather try to control them naturally and I recently purchased a TENS machine and it helps alongside a clean whole food diet and I do daily stretches and feel like I have to keep moving in case I seize up altogether the other things that worked are physiotherapy and acupuncture. I haven’t had it but Botox can reportedly give you months of relief.
So moving forward is this increased spasticity a sign of my MS progressing? I don’t know, does anybody? The thing is if I stop and dwell on it or over think things I know from my limited experience that it does more harm than good. I don’t really have any definite answers I just guess my way through this yet believing what I’m doing is right thing is a massive 50% of the battle already won which is only a good thing.
The next time you see anybody break dancing just think they could be having a spasm so don’t stare……