I woke in the middle of the night in pain, it doesn’t happen that often but when it does my body has always found a way of making it quite clear why my eyes are open and I have a desire beyond anything else to just get up. I was in pain, at first it felt like the pain was almost from my waist down, which was something new, but as I woke up enough to take off my sleep mask, I began to realise that it was just my legs. Usually, there is a clear definition between my limbs but not this time, both were telling me the exact same story, if it had been my calf muscles that had gone into spasm, well that is easy enough to fix, but this was both my thigh muscles that had locked. For the first time I was lying there with a problem that I actually didn’t know how to solve, how do you get up when both your legs are so painful that you quite simply don’t want to move either. Usually when I wake with one leg in this sort of pain, I use the other one to sort of compensate, if it is my right leg, well I use my left to push it off the bed, I can then push against the bed frame to pull my other leg into a position where it and the rest of my body follows, the need for working muscles in the painful leg isn’t really required. I find the simplest way of breaking a spasm is to apply pressure, which can come from any direction, when the spasm is in my thigh, standing and massaging it as I slowly put my weight on that side, usually works well, but I didn’t have a spare leg to stand on despite managing to sit up, I wasn’t doing that well at applying enough pressure. The problem was two-fold, the mattress had too much give in it, plus the odd position I was sat in, was pulling on the muscles in the back of my thighs, pulling my legs upwards off the bed, I quite simply don’t have the strength when sat in that position to make the difference required. I don’t often find myself in that kind of loose loose situation, to date I have almost always found a way of doing what I have to, without causing more problems, painful or not I was going to have to at the very least get myself sat on the edge of the bed, that way I might be able to apply enough pressure.
I know that when pain is that bad, that time kind of stretches, it always feels as though it has been going on for hours, but the reality is it’s really just a few minutes. Inside, well you are fighting with so many different feelings, thoughts and I will be honest, a mild degree of panic. Pain on its own does that somehow, I am guessing it is some sort of chemical reaction, as mentally I don’t feel panicked. I’m not sure how much sense that makes but the rest of my body is in flight mode, yet my brain is still settled and clear as to what needs to be done, how to do it and with a list of backup plans, should the first one fail. I also knew that the position I was sat in on the bed with my legs out in front of me was a recipe for more pain, as if I kept pulling on the muscles in the back of my thighs and calfs, I was in danger of triggering more spasms and I really didn’t want any more. Sometimes to clear pain, you just have to accept you are going to be in more first, once my feet were on the floor and I was able to carry out the processes I knew worked as they were tried and tested, I was able to break the hold that the spams had. It isn’t the first time that I have had more than one spams at a time, what was unusual was the fact that I had it in the identical place on two different limbs. How it had happened, I honestly don’t know, I was asleep, what I do know is I never want it to happen again. Life has taught me that once you have a bad spasm the worst thing you can do, is relax, it is the perfect recipe for triggering another one, at night the best thing is to take a booster pill and then go for a walk, in my case that means walking around the kitchen while smoking a cigarette. During the day, well the list of possibilities is greater, but whatever else you do, keep flexing the muscles as much as you can until you feel safe to stop.
Before they managed to find the right combination of antispasmodics and pain control, pain like last night was something that happened a lot, now it is only occasional. I get far fewer major muscle spasms and those I do get, don’t normally cause intense pain. Most, like the ones I get in my diaphragm and intercostal muscles daily, on the whole, don’t really fall into the category of pain, they are more a combination of intense pressure and discomfort, which after several hours can be just as bad, just in a different way. Now though the problem with spasms is changing slowly and I have been aware of it for at least the last year of more, as my muscles are losing strength, being able to deal with a spasm in my normal way of applying pressure and massaging is getting harder and harder to do. At first I was blaming the problem on not my waning strength but on the increasing amount of fat lying over my major muscles, it may be playing its own role in the problem but I am becoming more and more sure that lack of strength is the bigger partner, along with the fact that a lot of my muscles are showing increasing signs of shorting, something I first mentioned about a year ago. I guess it is now time to start looking for other ways of breaking a spasm, other than massage and pressure as my hands aren’t going to be up to the job in the future. I have already sorted out calf muscles spasm as I found myself unable to break one of those a few weeks ago, the answer there is simple, stand with my back to the settee and press the muscle backwards into the settee base, that actually runs the entire height of my calf muscle, unfortunately I don’t have anything that convenient for my thighs.
For now I am not that worried, as long as the pain control holds and they are willing as they have been for the last two years to increase it when I ask, well things shouldn’t be too bad. I don’t think a spasm has woken me for over 3 months and as long as I don’t start getting them badly more frequently, I can live with it, but I do have to start working on the possibilities as although Adam is here to help when I can’t manage, he isn’t with me 24/7.
Please read my blog from 2 years ago today – 15/01/13 – Crippling Purpose