alt=a woman shows a phone to a doctor, explaining her pain and muscle spasms.

Pain Management Referral for my Muscle Spasms

So, today I had my rheumatology appointment. I wasn’t supposed to be seeing my rheumatologist until February, but my spasms have been so intense that I made an earlier appointment.

I’ve been asking for help with my spasms since May of 2020, so for about a year and a half. My consultant always says, "Try physio, try acupuncture, try not to be stressed." He believed that stress was causing my spasms. Then in December of 2020 I had an MRI that showed the straightening of my cervical spine. He said that that may be the cause of my spasms but offered no help besides the usual physio/acupuncture. I’ve tried physiotherapy and acupuncture for months, but it doesn’t help me.

I always feel that my consultant dismissed my spasms and doesn’t think that they are a big deal. Today this changed. I am so happy with how well my appointment went.

What did I do differently?

I went in and told him I’m doing great besides my spasms. I explained to him that they are not caused by stress. I told him that I cannot cope with my chronic spasms anymore and something needs to be done.

I have many pictures of my spasms and the bruising caused by them. Each appointment I try to show them to him and he says, "there’s no need, I can feel them here." Today this happened and I explained to him that he needed to see them.

So, I showed him these pictures:

Ali's neck with a large muscle spasm bump

Another spasm on Ali's neck with a large bump

He was in shock and said he had never seen something like this before. He never realized how severe they really are. This was partly my fault. I tend to go into my appointments downplaying how much pain I’m really in. Today I was different. I was assertive and made sure that everything I wanted to come out of this appointment did.

After this appointment, I felt listened to and understood. Now, he wants to help me. First, he suggested that maybe we change my biologic injection as my CRP levels have been high since June. I explained to him that I’m doing really well on Cosentyx. It is helping my pain, fatigue and stiffness, with minimal side effects. He reassured me that at the end of the day this is my choice, but if in 6 months' time my CRP is still elevated, then we will need to reconsider this again. That’s ok with me!

Finally, he is referring me to a pain management specialist. He thinks that this is the best approach to tackle my spasms. So, I will be seeing a pain management specialist within the next two months. Hopefully sooner rather than later. I just hope so much that he will help me say goodbye to my spasms forever. Or at least make them more manageable. But, preferably to get rid of them for good.

I am a little nervous about this as I’ve never seen a pain management specialist before. But also excited and hopeful that we will find help for my spasms. I asked my consultant what he would be doing and there are many things that he can do!

What I know so far

My consultant explained that the options my pain management specialist may offer are:

  • Botox injections straight into the spasm.
  • Steroid injections straight into the spasm.
  • An anesthetic injection into the spasm.
  • And, I’m very annoyed at myself for not writing down the last thing he said. I’ve never heard of the word before all I know is that it starts with "R." After intense Googling, I still can’t figure out what he said.

This was a learning experience for me. In future appointments, I’m going to ask him to write down the things that I don’t understand.

Have you seen a pain management specialist? Or had any of these procedures?

Let’s hope it all goes well and I can say goodbye to my spasms!

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