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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.)



bungleton
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03 Mar 2015, 6:14 am

I have trouble with constant muscle tension as well... Yoga + acupuncture + foam roller + spiky massage ball is slowly helping me manage it. Whether or not it's an ASD thing I'm not sure; it's quite possibly a universal anxiety reaction, though my acupuncturist had never heard of the kind of tension I described (where my muscles slowly TENSE UP over the period of about a minute, I realise and try to relax them... Rinse and repeat.)

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^^ My massage ball is pretty much the best thing in the world right now :D
I took it to an event on Saturday where I would normally feel really anxious and not enjoy myself after a while; when I started to feel really restless I pulled it out and started rolling it over my shoulders and arms etc. I felt better after about 10 minutes, kept it up for about half an hour then enjoyed the rest of the day :)


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Claradoon
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03 Mar 2015, 7:02 am

I've had extreme muscle tension for as long as I can remember. Robaxacet helps, so does Gravol of all things.

re tension playing piano - Glenn Gould would sit with his forearms resting in a sink of warm water for half an hour before recording. It might be worth a try?

Yesterday, I read of a "Hot feet, cold head" cure for migraine. I don't get migraine any more but I do have exactly the same body temperature difference, so I'm going to try sitting with my feet in hot water and a cold compress on the back of my neck (how about the top of my head?). When I take a shower, the water hits my head as cold, runs down and hits my body as way too hot. Maybe this will cure it.

Relaxation has to be practiced at a regular time daily. Yoga, relaxation tape, whatever works for you, but consistently. It's muscle memory. lol I'm not trying to suggest I'm perfect, no I don't do that, but I know what happens when I do.



nerdygirl
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03 Mar 2015, 7:09 am

Claradoon wrote:
I've had extreme muscle tension for as long as I can remember. Robaxacet helps, so does Gravol of all things.

re tension playing piano - Glenn Gould would sit with his forearms resting in a sink of warm water for half an hour before recording. It might be worth a try?

Yesterday, I read of a "Hot feet, cold head" cure for migraine. I don't get migraine any more but I do have exactly the same body temperature difference, so I'm going to try sitting with my feet in hot water and a cold compress on the back of my neck (how about the top of my head?). When I take a shower, the water hits my head as cold, runs down and hits my body as way too hot. Maybe this will cure it.

Relaxation has to be practiced at a regular time daily. Yoga, relaxation tape, whatever works for you, but consistently. It's muscle memory. lol I'm not trying to suggest I'm perfect, no I don't do that, but I know what happens when I do.


I have done the arm soaking thing before. One of the reasons I don't mind washing the dishes is because I can play easily afterwards.

I do agree that relaxation has to be practiced. That is a light that went on after my last lesson and starting to figure some of this out. I am hoping that enough practice will get me to to the point of muscle memory so that I can turn it on at will when I am playing, especially in front of someone.



ToughDiamond
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03 Mar 2015, 2:10 pm

Claradoon wrote:
re tension playing piano - Glenn Gould would sit with his forearms resting in a sink of warm water for half an hour before recording. It might be worth a try?

I find a warm bath before playing any instrument (including voice) is quite useful. Except the guitar because it softens my fingertips. Also practising alone a lot helps, it takes the "what will they think if I get it wrong?" feeling out of it, and the instrument gets so familiar that it becomes a comforting thing when I'm performing in public.



TheAP
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03 Mar 2015, 3:07 pm

Sometimes when I twist my right foot a certain way, a sharp pain runs through it. It goes away pretty quickly.



Greenleaf
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08 Dec 2016, 8:53 am

I definitely have a lot of issues with muscle tension; I used to think my muscles were just inflexible, but now after 2 years of work with a wonderful massage person (who does everything very slowly, which I need) it seems pretty clear that the knots in my muscles are all over, and this isn't something the massage people see a lot. I also don't have pain in the knots where apparently many NTs would, and didn't have deep muscle sensation on the left much at all. After some work the knots itch, but no pain. Now I'm starting to really love deep pressure.

The tension gave me early arthritis in my neck, it turns out, so I'm glad to be working on it now at least. Our bodies work better long-term if we take care of them. :-) Aerobic exercise seems to take my overall tension down a notch; I'm very glad to have that strong habit! It's like it reduces the level of some type of stress a lot, and I can feel "in" my body more.

Autism includes significantly atypical organization of various parts of the cerebellum, which includes motor stuff. Surely that could be connected to not-quite using muscles typically... will try to research this. I never studied a bit of anatomy though so "motor stuff" is my level of discussion... :roll:



ZombieBrideXD
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08 Dec 2016, 8:59 am

YES YES YES! Finally!

I found smoking pot helps me relax my muscles.


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Coyotesheaven
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13 Feb 2017, 7:28 pm

I don't agree with the idea that muscle tension abnormalities are not due to autism. Maybe they indirectly are from the extreme anxiety that comes from autism, which puts a great deal of stress on the body on its own.

When I was young I had severe muscle tension in my calves and tendons, and it was an omni-present feature no matter how calm or relaxed I was. I do believe it got worse with anger or anxiety, both of which I had a significant amount of at the time. As a result of the muscle tension I was a toe walker, and that attracted a lot of unwanted medical attention.
It seemed to be a result of my brain's general lack of specific motor control, which might have involved a dysregulation of muscle tension. I also had balance problems and dyslexia, along with some small problems with fine motor control, so it wouldn't surprise me if my brain programmed the wrong commands for muscle tension.

I have now seemed to have developed the problem again, after a 2 year bout with anxiety and depression, along with a remission of other classic autistic symptoms I lived for years without.
I have the condition of cervical dystonia now, as well as a number of TMJ related problems; I am in a lot of pain and experience a great deal of stiffness regularly. All of these problems developed in short busts over many months and have become worse over time. While high anxiety and distress do set my muscles into spasms, to a point where I feel like I am choking, sometimes the tension just appears out of the blue or occurs when I wake up.
I'm thinking that I may have had an adverse reaction to medication, but some of it could be due to autism and it's consequences for motor control and other neurologic processes. It's just otherwise really weird for me to be getting this condition, which is listed as very rare in people my age.