Muscle Spasms Help My Independence

Did you know that my body will shake uncontrollably? Yes, it’s true, and if you see me in public it’s possible you’ve been a witness. My legs will shake, bounce, or extend, my wrists will flex or shake, my triceps will spaz, or my core muscles will pull me back in to my seat. I will have these muscle spasms multiple times throughout the day. It might sound annoying to you but for me, it’s a part of my life. Spasticity is a side effect of paralysis and it can range from mild to severe. It is very common with incomplete or cervical level injuries, and unfortunately/fortunately I fit under both categories (I included fortunately because it actually can help with my independence, I’ll get to that part soon).  

Muscle spasms are a form of communication that happens below the level of injury, but once the communication is initiated (i.e. stretching my leg), the message is interrupted from the damaged area of your injury. The spinal cord attempts to interpret the message and sends a response. This response is typically an over exaggerated muscle movement, like shaking and sharp movements. 

Treatments 

There are treatments for spasticity. A typical treatment can be done at physical therapy which is stretching and range of motion. The most common medicine is baclofen, diazepam or Zanaflex. Personally, I take a low, daily dose of baclofen. I don’t “need” baclofen, but it is a safety precaution as an independent driver, so I won’t shake while driving. Other treatments include Botox injections or a surgically implanted baclofen pump. I have some SCI friends who use a refillable pump as a treatment for severe muscle spasms. This pump applies medicine to the spinal cord area which is causing the spasms. Because of this treatment solution, my friends can live an independent life. 

 
My Benefit 

On the opposite side of treatment is the benefit of muscle spasms. I use my muscle spasms to live independently. It sounds weird but let me explain. In my seven years of spasticity I have learned how to control my mild spasms to pick up objects with my hand. If I bend or lean forward just enough, I can trigger a spasm in my hand which performs a strong pinch to grab items. I use it when I’m grocery shopping or completing a simple task like grabbing a tissue out of the tissue box. If you try to grab a tissue right now while you’re reading this, do you feel the resistance as you pull a tissue? If I didn’t have a muscle spasm, I wouldn’t have a strong enough pinch to grab that tissue. I can use the spasms to grab books off my bookshelf or pick up my phone.  

My Disadvantage  

The downside of my muscle spasms is the strong ones. Most the time, when I’m sleeping, my muscles become tight and if I move, my legs spaz into an uncomfortable position. Unfortunately, I am stuck in that uncomfortable position until I have assistance. Other times, I’ll be sitting in my chair and my spasms will move my hips out of place. Once again, this uncomfortable position will cause pain. At this point of my life, I must think what is worth the pain. Is this pain too much or is it doable? Do I risk my independence? Do I increse my medicine, or do I sacrifice the pain?  

Click here for my short video of my standing wheelchair

6 thoughts on “Muscle Spasms Help My Independence

  1. Lancy Mathew Pinto says:

    please allow me to say that treating pain has been my passion since my childhood and i believe i God gifted healer. i am into alternative and natural healing therapies for atleast 4 decades and prepare safe herbs healing oils for atleast 25 years. praise God i am able to detect the pain areas atleast six different by my eyes and touching. i use many natural non-invasive therapies for healing pain and internal usage of time tested non steroidal herbs for internal healing when required. i can advise suitable diet depending on blood group type. my wife too was totally paralyzed 23 years ago below her rib cage till her toes and has since recovered about 90% but still need light massages on daily basis to avoid cramps while sleeping. if you are interested i could share with you some acupressure and acumassage video clips and information strictly on humanitarian basis-if so send me WhatsApp on my contact number: +974 55378179. i will not give you any false hopes but will try to help you to get better using my art of healing of mind, body and spirit so i believe in miracles and in God’s Holy Power to heal.

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  2. stacym93 says:

    The standing chairs are amazing, and whenever the day comes to replace my current one, that’s definitely what I would like next. The good news is that ever since I seen your blog about your track chair, my family has been working towards finding me one, and it looks like I should have one hopefully by the end of the year. Just in time to experience our Ohio snowy winter! I’m looking forward to being able to drive around in the back of my parents property on my own throughout the year, and not as a passenger in our Polaris side by side. As always, I enjoy your blog Abby!

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