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Thread: Autonomic Dysreflexia type reaction from muscle spasms

  1. #1
    Senior Member Axle's Avatar
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    Autonomic Dysreflexia type reaction from muscle spasms

    I stretch my hips and ab muscles by laying flat on my stomach and lifitng my upper body with my arms. This usually relaxes the muscles and decreases muscle spasms after the stretch is over. But during the stretch the spasms may get worse. I try to increase the stretch slowly so this does not happen or back off the stretch when it does happen. But sometimes it comes on so fast. The danger is that the spasms may get so bad that it is difficult to breath and it feels like my blood pressure may be getting too high (even though I am T8 I can feel the increasing pressure all the way up my forehead). If it would stop as soon as I stopped the stretch that would be one thing. But this can last for a prolonged period of time (usually several seconds but maybe up to 60 seconds) after I have stopped the stretch. Is this considered autonomic dysreflexia?

    Since I have increased my baclofen level it happens less.

    Any advice other than don't do it? I do need to stretch and this is the only way for those muscles.

  2. #2
    Once the muscle is in spasm, it is going to take time for the spasm to relax. That is probably why you are experiencing some autonomic symptoms for a few seconds up to a minute or so. I don't think it is worth trying to medicate for this since the autonomia is of such a short duration.

    You can only be careful and not push the stretch too much. I know that is hard because the stretch point to spasm changes from one stretch to another. It might be beneficial to consult a physical therapist to see if there are alternative ways to stretch.

    All the best,
    GJ

  3. #3
    Senior Member Axle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by smashms View Post
    Maybe time for another increase in meds but GJ is right do not push the stretch too far to put you in spasm.
    I think the increase in meds may be a better option. The slightest stretch may trigger spasm. And I never know ahead of time if it's going to be the 'big one'.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Axle View Post
    I think the increase in meds may be a better option. The slightest stretch may trigger spasm. And I never know ahead of time if it's going to be the 'big one'.
    For me, it would be hard to justify an increase in these "big gun" pain relief/spasm medications for the few seconds to a minute of potential autonomia about which your are concerned. Increased dosages of Baclofen and other pain/spasm mediations do not come without increased risk and side effects in and of themselves. You and your physiatrist/ physical therapist may have to come up with a plan to modulate your autonomic response and your need for spasm medication vis a vie your autonomic response/symptoms.

    In these instances of up to a minute of what you perceive as autonomic symptoms, you should be trying to take your blood pressure to see how that plays out with the other symptoms you are feeling.

    All the best,
    GJ

  5. #5
    Senior Member Axle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gjnl View Post
    ...the few seconds to a minute of potential autonomia about which your are concerned.
    GJ
    I am concerned about another broken bone and/or stroke.

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    Super Moderator Sue Pendleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Axle View Post
    I am concerned about another broken bone and/or stroke.
    Have you ever used a standing table to try a more passive stretch of those muscles? I used to have some serious knee to chin spasms when working at my desk. I tried sleeping on my stomach to passively stretch but never could sleep that way. I'd try a few trips to a outpatient PT clinic where a PT could monitor your bp while you try different standers.
    Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow."

    Disclaimer: Answers, suggestions, and/or comments do not constitute medical advice expressed or implied and are based solely on my experiences as a SCI patient. Please consult your attending physician for medical advise and treatment. In the event of a medical emergency please call 911.

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    Senior Member Axle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sue Pendleton View Post
    Have you ever used a standing table to try a more passive stretch of those muscles? I used to have some serious knee to chin spasms when working at my desk. I tried sleeping on my stomach to passively stretch but never could sleep that way. I'd try a few trips to a outpatient PT clinic where a PT could monitor your bp while you try different standers.
    Yes, I tried standing tables. Same problem. But probably a choice that provides greater control to ease into the stretch.

  8. #8
    Super Moderator Sue Pendleton's Avatar
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    Are you able to stretch your arms up and outward over your head while in your chair? I have problems with one arm getting it all the way out there but this seems to help too. I always get behind an easy chair in case I spaze forward but once you get some range you might be able to try the others without AD kicking in.
    Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow."

    Disclaimer: Answers, suggestions, and/or comments do not constitute medical advice expressed or implied and are based solely on my experiences as a SCI patient. Please consult your attending physician for medical advise and treatment. In the event of a medical emergency please call 911.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Axle's Avatar
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    Good idea. A hot shower and empty belly helps too.

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