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nerdygirl
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02 Mar 2015, 3:36 pm

Do you have problems with muscle tension?

Muscle cramps? Muscle spasms? Inability for muscles to completely relax?

I have started up piano lessons again and was having trouble doing what the teacher was telling me to do. After a time, I realized that I was holding the *tiniest* bit of tension in my fingers, but it was enough to cause me to play a note the wrong way. I realized that this was one aspect of the overall problems with muscle tension that I have.

I am prone to muscle cramps and spasms. I am almost never completely relaxed in my body in a normal setting, even when sleeping. Most of the time, I am aware that I am "tight" at least somewhere, even when I am not feeling anxious.

In lessons over the years, I have been told countless times to "relax", but it dawned on me last week that if one doesn't know what "relaxed" FEELS like, how can one attain that state?

Do any of you have similar problems? Is this an ASD thing, and how do you deal with it?



kraftiekortie
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02 Mar 2015, 6:09 pm

Nope...not an ASD thing.

It could be that you have high expectations for yourself. You do have lots on your plate. You do a lot of juggling of career and family, and you're very self-reliant in lots of ways. And you're a perfectionist. That's why it's hard to relax.

As for me, I get cramps because it's cold, I'm not exercising enough these days, and I'm getting older.



nerdygirl
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02 Mar 2015, 6:13 pm

I've had muscle cramps and spasms since I was a kid.



Waterfalls
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02 Mar 2015, 6:59 pm

I have a lot of muscle tension and sometimes cramps. For me, I've had trouble since childhood learning physical skills, nothing obvious it's minor, but things like hitting a ball with a bat, or looking at and trying to copy physical movements, following a 2-3 step verbal direction for an unfamiliar physical movement feel like, well...... my brain hurts! Which makes me more anxious, of course.

Although I can learn, it's only by being taught like I'm 4.....one tiny step at a time. For me at least, I think confusion how to move and how to relax (which is a form of moving) and needing to remember to relax probably contribute to feeling physically tense. I think this would be more related to apraxia/developmental coordination disorder than autism, don't know much about them, but think it's more common in people on the spectrum.....though others have low tone.



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02 Mar 2015, 7:20 pm

Yeah, i had that. A doctor upped my Fluoxetine to 40mg and now i don't get that tense any more. Stress causes it, so you might need to see a doctor. A hot bath is the only thing that cures it for me, but it's temporary. It get's worse if i massage it. I think people with Autism/AS are more likely to suffer from it since they are more likely to get stressed.



kraftiekortie
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02 Mar 2015, 7:28 pm

It seems like it's something "physical" rather than something related to AS.

You grew very fast at an early age.

When I was 13 and 14 years old, I used to get "growing pains." Then, at 14 1/2, I had my only real "growth spurt," growing 2 inches in 2 months. The pains stopped afterwards.

Or maybe you've always had high expectations for yourself.



Waterfalls
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02 Mar 2015, 7:30 pm

Deep pressure helps me relax



ToughDiamond
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02 Mar 2015, 8:20 pm

I've always had a tendency to tense up physically when I'm nervous. It's not as much of a problem as it used to be - once I'd noticed it, I got into the habit of telling myself to relax my muscles. Also I've managed to remove a lot of the serious stressors from my everyday life. When I was a young child I used to tense up whenever I was trying to learn a sport, and naturally it spoiled the result. I was still noticeably tense when I was first learning to drive. As well as consciously relaxing my muscles, a habit of deep, slow breathing seems to have helped.

These days the biggest stressor is probably working to tight deadlines, though it doesn't happen much. I can get impulsive and knock things over. I have to fight a tendency to rush things when there's no need, because that makes for tension too.



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02 Mar 2015, 8:22 pm

I don't know if this is the same thing, but sometimes my legs ache or feel stiff, especially after I've been very active.



progaspie
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03 Mar 2015, 12:41 am

nerdygirl wrote:
Do you have problems with muscle tension?

Muscle cramps? Muscle spasms? Inability for muscles to completely relax?

I have started up piano lessons again and was having trouble doing what the teacher was telling me to do. After a time, I realized that I was holding the *tiniest* bit of tension in my fingers, but it was enough to cause me to play a note the wrong way. I realized that this was one aspect of the overall problems with muscle tension that I have.

I am prone to muscle cramps and spasms. I am almost never completely relaxed in my body in a normal setting, even when sleeping. Most of the time, I am aware that I am "tight" at least somewhere, even when I am not feeling anxious.

In lessons over the years, I have been told countless times to "relax", but it dawned on me last week that if one doesn't know what "relaxed" FEELS like, how can one attain that state?

Do any of you have similar problems? Is this an ASD thing, and how do you deal with it?


I go through exactly the same thing whenever I'm in the public domain, in whatever activity I'm doing whether it is playing sports, at social gatherings, giving public talks, or meeting new people for the first time. My muscles tense up and I struggle with my breathing and I have trouble communicating with people. I'm constantly told to relax by people who know me. My muscles tense up so much I often go into muscle spasms when I get home.



ProfessorJohn
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03 Mar 2015, 12:44 am

I get tension headaches a lot. Started taking Amitriptyline for them a couple of years ago. Helps some. Upped the dose to 100mg earlier this year and it seemed to cause me to start grinding my teeth more than before. Trying to find something else to switch to that maybe works better with fewer side effects. I also get a lot of tension in my upper back and shoulders. Wish I knew what is causing it and how to relax better to get over it.



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03 Mar 2015, 2:23 am

Yes, I have difficulty in relaxing the body as well. What helps for me is to do some physical exercise/sport -- preferebly alone, like jogging or something like that -- and after that some old school buddhist meditation.

Also, mind that because you have ASD you are likely to be very tense when playing your instrument while an instructor or someone else is listing/watching. You probably play better when you are alone.

Someone above mention that this is "not an ASD thing", well he is wrong. Body mechanical analysis of childrens movements (jerky body movements) are being used for the diagnosis of autism.

:salut:



Welsh_Wolf2015
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03 Mar 2015, 3:15 am

Yes I have this. According to my GP mine is cause by my anxiety.



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03 Mar 2015, 3:41 am

http://www.ot-mom-learning-activities.c ... -tone.html

Scroll down to "High Muscle Tone". It sounds like what you're describing.

It is neurological, not psychological.


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swashyrose
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03 Mar 2015, 4:31 am

I would say it is an asd thing, as in, not everyone with asd will experience it, but for me, at least, I would indirectly attribute it to my having asd, because being born with asd is the reason I'm so susceptible to high levels of anxiety and stress, problems that are also spurred on through obsessing and feeling pressured. My body is very sensitive to my mental state, I'm often agonizingly tensed without even knowing why. When it gets too much I take lorazepam (a sedative prescribed for anxiety /panic attacks) to relax the muscles and give my body the break it needs.



nerdygirl
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03 Mar 2015, 5:44 am

I get a lot of Charlie Horses in my legs. Sometimes, if I stretch my arm to scratch my upper back, my arm then gets stuck in that position. I really have to pull hard to get my arm or leg to straighten back out.

I complained about this to my doctor a few years ago, and she just gave me a look like she had never heard of anyone's arm getting stuck like that.

I watch my potassium, magnesium, and calcium intake. It does help with the cramping/spasms.

But I have become aware that my muscles are very tight all the time even when I'm not experiencing cramps/spasms.
I also feel tight even when I do not mentally feel anxious.

I have not had a panic attack in many years, and I got through that stage without anxiety meds. I have been wondering, though, if they might help. I don't feel anxious all the time, but I do have this muscle problem.

Leading up to a big even, even if I don't *feel* anxious or get rapid breathing or a fast heart rate or anything like that, my muscles will tighten a tremendous amount, especially my shoulders/neck, with a horrible headache. I have gotten to the point in the past where I was not able to move my head for three days because of it. No amount of pain killers or shoulder massages helped. As soon as the event was over, poof the muscle tension was gone (or at least back down to a normal-for-me level.)