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Author Topic: Stiff back, twitching, weakness etc - desperate!  (Read 450 times)

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Offline shola1898

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Stiff back, twitching, weakness etc - desperate!
« on: December 03, 2012, 06:01:43 AM »
Morning all

I thought I was doing better, I really did - whilst I was still suffering symptoms, I was beginning to accept they were just part of the (rough) ride.  However, I feel I may have taken some huge steps backward this week and I'm seeking some reassurance until my next app with the Dr which is in a weeks time.

So here it goes:

All started about 6 weeks ago - dizziness, nausea, pallor (was convinced I was coming down with something nasty). Fortunately, all three of those symptoms have pretty much gone. What's happened since is scaring me. I've developed a very, very stiff back which sometimes switches to pretty awful pain (it's non-specific, it seems to affect the whole back), that has been ever present. It seems to be affecting my walking a little - it's a bit like I'm walking like an old man, stiff and slightly bent over. Alongside this, I've got the most insane twitching - it's constant and ranges from muscle tremors that contract 5 or 6 times to whole body jerks and I've felt them in my fingers, thigh, back, abdomen etc. My legs are stiff, walking feels like it has become more difficult, if I exercise my body aches and twitches for hours, I'm irritable, my hands are stiff, i've got an on and off tightness around my ribs, I can't sleep properly,  I've got cramps and my face has been tingling and tight for weeks on end.

This has come after a difficult period in my life - final year at uni, moved to a new city, started a new job, struggling to deal with the terminal illness of my brother, step mother has just been diagnosed with cancer and I've been in a constant state of worry as a result of these things for many months. The fact that this is the first time I've had any physical anxiety symptoms of note (I've had them, but they've never lasted very long) is making it incredibly difficult to accept that all of this could be stress/anxiety related. I have discussed these things with my Dr who is doing some final blood tests to rule out everything that she can and she seems quite sure that I'm suffering from anxiety but is willing to rule out every possibility before coming to a final diagnosis.

What do you think? This is not the first time I've posted with these concerns but since I've developed some new wierd and wonderful things.

What do you guys think about medication? Is it worth trying some to help me deal with these very difficult symptoms.

Thank in advance
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Offline gcalex

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Re: Stiff back, twitching, weakness etc - desperate!
« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2012, 07:14:51 AM »
You migrated from one set of symptoms to another completely different set.  That is classic anxiety.  I would focus on the stress in your life, not your physical symptoms.  Most of it sounds like muscle tightness which could not be more classic anxiety.  Don't make a habit of seeking reassurance, you need to develop the capacity to reassure yourself. 
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Offline sixpack

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Re: Stiff back, twitching, weakness etc - desperate!
« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2012, 08:04:47 AM »
you can get better.  we all can.  It takes a lot of bravery to make that commitment because, really, it is easier to do the same ole things that we are 'comfortable with'.   You know the old adage  that goes something like this:  "the devil you know is better than the one you don't"

below are some realistic (yet not over night) suggestion you can do to help you get started.

here are my usual suggestions for helping with anxiety issues:

1. Therapy---meds if you and your doctor feel it is appropriate---everybody is different on this issue. but don't discount meds because you are afraid of them or think that meds are only for "weak" people.  Remember the BEST therapist isn't a miracle worker.  therapy is a two-way street. The client MUST participate and I don't just mean going in and unloading on the therapist.  A therapist is there to listen, true, but the therapist is there to challenge and get you to do things to aid in your recovery.  So the client must do the "homework" to get the most out of therapy. 
2. self-help books--lots of good stuff out there these days ---Claire Weekes has good books out there that explain how it all works.  I read "The Road Less Traveled" by M. Scott Peck many years ago.  He speaks to people in a variety of ways.  He has a few other books too.   
3.  Exercise---even if you don't want to.  At first you are likely to feel miserable and panicky feelings are likely to bubble up OR rush at you.  It is BEASTY (your anxious overthinking) causing this.  But do it anyway.
4.  Eat a healthy diet.  This helps on all kinds areas of your life.
5.  Forums often have helpful advice.
6.  Hobbies--anything that completely immerses you in it and keeps you occupied.  This helps because eventually you'll get snippets of time when you feel good.  These are teaching moments because then you know it is obsessions/anxiety mucking with you.  After a while those snippets turn to hours then days etc.
7.  Don't pity yourself.  You can have a happy life.   As we experience life, we change.  Having any form of anxiety will impact your life just like all life experiences do.  But that isn't necessarily a bad thing.  Even once you are on the road to recovery, you will have a 'new' normal but that doesn't mean you aren't happy and fulfilled.

OH and a quick add on:  don't Google symptoms...( yes you may feel compulsed to do it, you may even feel like you can't help it. but we all can refrain from doing it ) in our frames of mind, we only find the most dire thing listed, find a new disease to fret over or we end up with new symptoms.  Googling only increases our anxiety and pretty much choosing to google will give us exactly what we ask for------------more freaking out.

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MOST anxiety happens at the subconscious level.  JUST because you don't feel consciously anxious or had a day or two of calm doesn't mean your mind & body are relaxed.  It can take months of reduced anxiety before a body goes back to a more non-reactive state. 

Offline shola1898

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Re: Stiff back, twitching, weakness etc - desperate!
« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2012, 08:16:21 AM »
gcalex - Thank you for taking the time to reply. I know that no amount of reassurance will heal me - that needs to come for within. I just feel compelled to seek reassurance, and it's adding fuel to the fire. I think I'm at a stage where it may be appropriate for me to try going on some meds, even if it's for a short period.

sixpack - Thank you so much for a wonderful answer, you've clearly taken alot of time to help reassure me and for that I'm very appreciate. I'm due to see a therapist next week and I've gotta say, I'm looking forward to the experience - I'm hoping to gain a lot both through airing my problems and learning techniques to deal with them. On the medication front, I really do think at this stage it could help me, and I'll discuss the idea with my GP (who thankfully is thorough, patient and kind). I've allowed my life to become simply going to work and worrying, anything I did previously has kind of gone out of the window and I even actively avoid going out with my friends etc for fear of becoming exhausted.

You seem very knowledgeable. Is there a thread in which I can read your anxiety experiences?

Thanks again for both of your answers.
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Offline sixpack

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Re: Stiff back, twitching, weakness etc - desperate!
« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2012, 08:24:58 AM »
hmmm I have a post that I've been linking lately..... probably some peeps are groaning when they see it.  LOL.  It has links within the links.  I'll post that for you.  :winking0008:

I don't have threads of my "anxiety episodes" per se because I see that as me attempting to ask for reassurance and, well, I know reassurance isn't helpful.    You can, obviously, click my username and find all the posts I've done over the years.  It is a lengthy bout of posts cuz I blather.  LOL

Below is a link to my blatherings about anxiety etc.  Please have a read.


Actually it is my second response on that thread that I am referring to.   

http://www.anxietyzone.com/index.php/topic,62866.msg363567.html#msg363567
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MOST anxiety happens at the subconscious level.  JUST because you don't feel consciously anxious or had a day or two of calm doesn't mean your mind & body are relaxed.  It can take months of reduced anxiety before a body goes back to a more non-reactive state. 

Offline gcalex

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Re: Stiff back, twitching, weakness etc - desperate!
« Reply #5 on: December 03, 2012, 08:39:42 AM »
I tried to condense all my advice, or the highlights anyhow, in this post.
http://www.anxietyzone.com/index.php/topic,63130.0.html

Since you asked, while I recognize medication may benefit some people, I personally believe that in most cases the negatives outweigh the positives and that if possible people should focus on therapy and lifestyle changes as sixpack outlined.  Many people of course disagree with me, and I am no authority.  I just see so many people (check out the medications section of this forum for example) whose lives become consumed with side effects and dose changes and schedules and med changes and the composition of their cocktails and so on and so forth; and another huge issue for me is that even the best scientists do not know the long-term effects of these drugs, and indeed don't really know how many of them work if they do work.  I should add, by way of bias, that I have personally had unpleasant experiences on meds and I know many people who have as well.  So don't take my word for anything.
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Offline shola1898

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Re: Stiff back, twitching, weakness etc - desperate!
« Reply #6 on: December 03, 2012, 08:54:54 AM »
Sixpack - that is an excellent post, very informative indeed, you should train as a life coach!  I do think immersing yourself in something is probably the ideal way to get over it. I'm a pretty decent football (or soccer, depending on where you are) player and used to play alot however, the last time I played I ached so much and was so physically exhausted for days that I'm almost worried to play again (plus all this tension has given me a rotten bad back). I also used to work a lot, but again, the only time I've tried since all this began I was really achy and tired after for days. Maybe it's a case of starting small and working up from there.

As someone who has been on this board for a long time, I can imagine you'd say everything that I'm talking about is pretty typical anxiety? Even I know that, I've read mirror stories in other posts it's just getting to 100% acceptance I guess.

p.s. reading about your experience has certainly given me hope that it won't take forever to get better, thanks!

gcalex - thanks for the input. I guess it's a case of speaking to my Dr and seeing what she says. She didn't even mention it when I first went in to see her so she would perhaps be inclined to take the same stance as you.
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Offline gcalex

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Re: Stiff back, twitching, weakness etc - desperate!
« Reply #7 on: December 03, 2012, 09:21:42 AM »
Try to educate yourself as well, it's a very complex subject, new information is coming out all the time,  and the average general practitioner just doesn't have time to keep up with it.  I would give you suggestions for further reading but as I mentioned I do have a bias so I will refrain. 
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Offline shola1898

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Re: Stiff back, twitching, weakness etc - desperate!
« Reply #8 on: December 03, 2012, 09:30:45 AM »
Try to educate yourself as well, it's a very complex subject, new information is coming out all the time,  and the average general practitioner just doesn't have time to keep up with it.  I would give you suggestions for further reading but as I mentioned I do have a bias so I will refrain.

To be honest, regardless of bias I'd like to hear about what you've found useful.
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Offline gcalex

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Re: Stiff back, twitching, weakness etc - desperate!
« Reply #9 on: December 03, 2012, 09:41:38 AM »
OK, here are some things i have bookmarked that have informed my point of view on benzodiazepines and SSRI and other antidepressants, take them for what they are worth, and recognizing my bias.

http://www.benzo.org.uk/manual/

http://www.*****.com/downloads/Chemical-Imbalance-Theory-is-False.pdf

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2011/jul/14/illusions-of-psychiatry/?pagination=false

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2011/aug/18/illusions-psychiatry-exchange/

http://psychrights.org/articles/leolacassemediaandchemicalimbalance.pdf

As an FYI I really have no issue with short term use of benzodiazepines, my concern based in part on personal experience is with long term use.
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Offline sixpack

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Re: Stiff back, twitching, weakness etc - desperate!
« Reply #10 on: December 03, 2012, 09:41:53 AM »
I don't have a bias one way or the other regarding meds.  I believe there are multiple or varying causes for anxiety.  What works for one doesn't for another.

amazingly I have two shrinks in my fam... one is a phd. and one is an md.

the PH.d, a few years back, told me that the patients he has had with anxiety:  by and large the ones on medication have made better and faster progress in therapy than his patients not on medication.  In truth one of his kids was on meds as well in the passed couple of years.  The meds helped his child. 

On the other side, my 2nd child, 17, had a severe bout of social anxiety and depression.  SEVERE enough that it resulted in hospitalization last January.  In my child's case meds helped not one wit.  He is bunches better now due to the ph.d psychologist that he is seeing for the last 11 months.  This is his second therapist.   
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MOST anxiety happens at the subconscious level.  JUST because you don't feel consciously anxious or had a day or two of calm doesn't mean your mind & body are relaxed.  It can take months of reduced anxiety before a body goes back to a more non-reactive state. 

Offline gcalex

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Re: Stiff back, twitching, weakness etc - desperate!
« Reply #11 on: December 03, 2012, 09:51:11 AM »
I think sixpack and I would agree that whatever you do, don't rely exclusively on meds to the neglect of therapy and personal work.  The real problem with modern psychiatry is that so many doctors ONLY treat with meds and your psychiatric visit becomes nothing more than a ten minute med check.  Meds are not curing chemical imbalances, in the best case they may make people feel better (maybe placebo, maybe real, it doesn't matter) so that they are more productive in their therapy and personal work.
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Offline sixpack

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Re: Stiff back, twitching, weakness etc - desperate!
« Reply #12 on: December 03, 2012, 10:13:29 AM »
true enough about the psychiatrist...  they really are just the "med' doctor.  The psychologists are the ones doing actual therapy.  Once my child went off meds, we no longer saw the psychiatrist. 
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MOST anxiety happens at the subconscious level.  JUST because you don't feel consciously anxious or had a day or two of calm doesn't mean your mind & body are relaxed.  It can take months of reduced anxiety before a body goes back to a more non-reactive state. 

Offline shola1898

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Re: Stiff back, twitching, weakness etc - desperate!
« Reply #13 on: December 03, 2012, 11:06:43 AM »
Thanks for the info!

In terms of medication, it really is something I would consider as a short term measure and from a number of sources I've read, good results are seen in people who combine short term medicine with longer term non-medicinal strategy.

I guess I have all this to come.
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