Patient: I have been doing a back bend in my sleep for a year now. It is extremely painful. I don’t know what’s causing it, and muscle relaxers no longer work at night. My husband says I’m crying in my sleep from pain and he has to wake me up and make me curl into a ball. (I broke my L1L2 about 17 years ago and haven’t had problems since, but I can’t even do a back bend when I’m awake bc it has always hurt). Why am I doing this? How to stop it? Help!
Doctor: Thank you for your question. Your spontaneous back muscle spasms while you are sleeping could be related to nerve damage you sustained when you fractured your L1 and L2 vertebrae. If an area of the spinal cord was damaged during this injury, one can experience spontaneous discharge of signals from the spinal cord branches which innervate the back muscles. This would consequently result in spasms of the back muscles such as those you are experiencing. It is also possible that you could be experiencing muscle spasms from electrolyte disturbances in your blood. Electrolytes are vital elements that are responsible for electrical conduction of nerve impulses in muscles. This can be observed in chronic illnesses like kidney diseases. From your description, there you haven’t indicated symptoms that could indicate you are experiencing this however we want to inform you of this to get you to consider this as a possibility, if you have refrained from mentioning any other information to us regarding you illness.In order to determine what the cause of these muscle spasms are you will need to be physically examined by a doctor. Furthermore, an x ray of you back should be performed to visualize the vertebrae and discs of your spine for any signs of nerve damage or impingement.Thank you for consulting AskTheDoctor.com