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Doctor John MD
Doctor John MD, Board Certified MD
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 368
Experience:  Medical Physician
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My left trapezius muscle has been contracted 24/7 for about

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Hi! My left trapezius muscle has been contracted 24/7 for about 7 years, it triggers severe migraines fairly often and salanpas patches on my shoulder or icy hot seem to be the only thing that helps, however the muscle still never relaxes. I'm trying to figure out what the condition might be so I might seek treatment. This has gone on too long.
JA: Is the headache episodic or daily? And what about nausea?
Customer: They aren't daily, but they can last several days. I've had migraines since I was a child, but when they start on the left side they are worse than I had ever imagined. I'm actually almost happy when I get a migraine on the right side, those are more tolerable and easier to get rid of. There is nausea occasionally, but only during the most severe migraines, including those before the muscle started acting up.
JA: Anything else in your medical history you think the doctor should know?
Customer: Nothing I can think of, although I have mild scoliosis.

This is Dr. John and I will be helping you today.

I will be reviewing your question and will respond shortly.

I may need to ask a few more questions in order to best serve you.

Thank you for your patience.

Answers here are for education and information only.

I have a few more questions to ask, is that ok?

have you had any injuries to the left shoulder or neck?
Is there any neck pain or pain that shoots down the left arm besides the pain in the trapezius?

Customer: replied 29 days ago.
I haven't had any injuries, the spasm started during a really stressful time in my life and just hast gone away. There is no shooting pain in my arm.

have you even done any physical therapy or home exercises/stretches for the trapezius?

Customer: replied 29 days ago.
The muscle feels like a rock, it doesn't always hurt though. But any stress, sleeping on it wrong, over use, etc. triggers pain that goes from the medial superior scapula to the occipital region, and then from behind my ear to the temporalis to the top of my head
Customer: replied 29 days ago.
I was actually in massage therapy school when this started, and I had to start asking my classmates to not massage my left shoulder or neck during training sessions because it would trigger the muscle pain and migraine.
Customer: replied 29 days ago.
I do stretch it when it feels tight, but even gentle stretching can trigger it. Sometimes popping my neck helps, and when it's feeling extra tight it is prone to popping on its own.

Ok, it does sound like a trigger point muscle spasm with the referred pain into the occiput.

Have you ever seen a doctor for it?

Customer: replied 29 days ago.
My range of motion isn't what it should be either, but it's not severely limited

I would expect some limited ROM due to the trapezius spasm.

A trigger point injection into the trapezius could help with the spasm.

Customer: replied 29 days ago.
I haven't seen a doctor for it yet. I tend to want to do a little research myself beforehand so I can answer questions better andhave a possible preview of what the doctor tells me. It helps me understand and not become overwhelmed with brand new information.
Customer: replied 29 days ago.
What is a trigger point injection?

I understand and its great that you are doing your research ahead of time.

Its where the doctor injects either saline (salt water) or lidocaine (an anesthetic) into the muscle spasm. The theory is that the injection interrupts the nerve signal to the muscle that is causing it to stay in spasm.

Customer: replied 29 days ago.
Ah! That sounds like exactly what I need! Now I'll just have to convince myself that relieving this pain outweighs my fear of needles! It won't be a hard sell!

heres some info on trigger points for you:

https://www.painscience.com/tutorials/trigger-points.php

and here's a video about trigger point injections.

Does that answer your question?

Customer: replied 29 days ago.
Thank you for the info! I had a friend who was also a massage therapist that did a quick treatment on me at work to relieve a migraine (I was bartending at the time) that was a trigger point release I believe, he just held my head in a position for 3 minutes and my migraine was gone for the night! It was temporary though, definitely need to find a permanent or more long term solution. Thank you so much for your help, this will help me move forward and get this treated! You're awesome!

Theres also a great book on Amazon written by a massage therapist that shows how to do self-trigger point release.

https://www.amazon.com/Trigger-Point-Therapy-Workbook-Self-Treatment-ebook/dp/B00ECLGALG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1506284188&sr=8-1&keywords=trigger+point+workbook+3rd+edition

I would like to thank you for your question and I hope you found my answer informative and helpful.

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- Dr John.

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Customer: replied 29 days ago.
Thank you for all the information! This was so helpful!

glad to be a help!