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Dr. Muneeb Ali
Dr. Muneeb Ali, Intensivist
Category: Neurology
Satisfied Customers: 7447
Experience:  Experience of Neurology of over 4 years, well versed in EEG, NCS and EMG alongwith MRIs and CT scans
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I have spinal stenosis, scoliosis and am most bothered by

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I have spinal stenosis, scoliosis and am most bothered by persistent muscle spasm/cramping up and down my back. There are some spots that are particularly sensitive when the physical therapist touches them. I have seen a spine interventionist clinic where they recomment a medial branch block and have done the preliminary tests -- but the results that I need to report are really confusing to me -- it seems like I have to guess when the pain goes away -- but I always have muscle cramping too. And I have to tell them what percentage relief I get. It all seems like guess work on my part, and I am reluctant to sign up for the ablation especially since it results in up to two weeks of muscle spasms as the nerve ends heal. Will the media branch block help the main problem of muscle cramping/spasm?
JA: How long have you had the pain? What seems to make the pain better or worse?
Customer: I have had the muscle spasm problem without much relief for about 3 years. Prior to that it would be better for months after seeing a chiropracter who used an activator. Now that makes the pain better is physical therapy and ultrasound, and using a heating pad. Standing or walking makes it worse.
JA: Anything else in your medical history you think the doctor should know?
Customer: I do take one 5/325 tylenol with hydrocodone in the morning. I can't take any nsaids because I have Barretts's Esophagus and a history of a bleeding ulcer.

Welcome to JA and thanks for this question. im sorry to hear about your symptoms. Actually a medial branch block can certainly be an effective method to control the pain in your situation. It can also control the muscle spasms and the cramping that you have been experiencing. The reason being that these muscle spasms and cramps usually occur because of nerve compression which is occiurring in the spine and that can also cause some portions in your legs and surrounding regions to be extra sensitive to touch etc. This is why a medial branch block can take some time to determine where exactly radiofrequency ablation can be done. The medial branch block can be done a few times until the exact region of the problem is identified.

But to answer your question, YES medial branch block can control the spasms in the short term and radiofrequency ablation can also control them on a more permanent basis.

Regarding the spasms during healing, YES there can be muscle spasms during that time however afterwards the spasms do stop and once they do, your current problems with reccurent spasms and pain should be solved effectively.

You can have your doctor start you on muscle relaxants to control the spasms in the meantime, these could include drugs like flexeril or tinazdine. These can control the spasms in the short term until the radiofrequency ablation can be done.

Do you have any more questions?

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