Have You Ever Been Unable to Move?

After I write this blog entry, I’m going to take a prescription-strength muscle relaxer, lay down, and see what happens.

No, this is not a fun game. Rather, something happened today that I’ve never experienced before. It was painful, frightening, and enlightening.

I woke up this morning feeling like I had slept wrong on my neck. It was a bit stiff, but not a big deal. I worked for a few hours and then jumped in the shower, as I had a vet appointment for Biddy at 10:15.

When I stepped out of the shower, I lifted my right arm to pull my towel over my head. As I did, a sharp pain shot through the left side of my neck. It went away after a moment, and I tried to massage it.

But it came back, more intense this time. Then again and again. It wouldn’t stop, and even the slightest movement set it off. I quickly popped a few Motrin, grabbed my phone, pulled on a pair of boxers, and called a friend to see if she could help. I then lay back on my bed…and found that I couldn’t move.

Out of respect for those who are paralyzed and truly cannot move, I should clarify: I could move. But it was incredibly painful to do so. And really, to a certain extent, when the muscle spasms happened, my muscles did not work properly. In truth, I could barely move. My only free appendages were my hands and lower arms.

I lay there in the exact same position for some of the longest 3 hours of my life.

It’s a weird sensation, to not be able to move. I had so many things I wanted to do, but I couldn’t do them, even simple things. My AC was on, and my feet got really cold (remember, I was only able to put on boxers before I completely locked up). It was a huge relieve when my friend, Katy, showed up and draped a blanket over me. By that point I was really shivering, which wasn’t helping the spasms.

My hope was that my body would eventually relax enough so the spasms would go away. That never happened. But as the hours passed, I realized that I would need to move at some point. I needed to go to the bathroom, and I needed to drink water and hopefully eat. Not doing those things would have worse consequences later.

So with Katy’s help (I’m incredibly fortunate that Katy was such a good friend to help out. I don’t know what I would have done without her), I was able to stand up and shuffle around like an old man for a while. I peed for about 20 minutes, was able to take a few more Motrin, and the managed to find a suitable position to eat lunch. Soon after I had the good news from my doctor that he had called in a prescription for muscle relaxers.

The spasms decreased significantly in the afternoon, so I’ve avoided taking the relaxers until now. I’ve never taken them, and I don’t like the idea of losing muscular function. (I’m not going to pee the bed, am I?) We’ll see what happens.

Has anything like this ever happened to you? How did it make you feel?

17 thoughts on “Have You Ever Been Unable to Move?”

  1. I know exactly how you feel. In 2007 I went on a business trip to Atlanta. It was the end of the evening and I was stripped down to my undies and ready to get into bed. I saw a sock on the floor and went to put it in my laundry bag. When I bent over my lower back locked up and I hit the floor hard in excruciating pain. I laid there unable to move for about 4-5 hours. If I could have reached the phone I would have called 911. I then slowly made my way to the bed and laid in a distorted position that gave me some relief. Wouldn’t wish that pain on anyone.

  2. So very sorry that a young age, you experienced these pains. But I LOL to hear that you peed for 20 minutes. I know from experiences with you, that you did not exaggerate that time. 🙂 Hope tomorrow brings relief

  3. Several years ago I had muscle spasms that progressed to be so bad I couldn’t get up. I had to lie down on the floor and just lie there. I ended up in the hospital after an ambulance ride and was put on super strong pain meds and muscle relaxers. I was released that night and on meds for a couple days, I was fine a week or two later. They never determined the cause. Good luck!

    • That sounds incredibly painful, Marshall. I’m sorry it took so long to heal, but hopefully it hasn’t come back since then.

  4. Had to pop over and follow up my tweet back — I have literally felt your pain, and I really feel for you! Take it easy, get checked out and see what the issue is. Follow your Doc’s regiment, but I just started with half the muscle relaxer. It does help, if you can get that muscle to stop spasming, it will let it begin to heal.
    For me it was my spine was out of alignment and the attached ligaments were stretching which just became a vicious cycle. Too much sitting at a desk and typing; they aren’t kidding when they say get up and move around. We’re built to move not sit still for hours at a time. A chiropractor was the answer for me; but your mileage may vary. What stood out for me was his example of car maintenance. You can have the best tuned engine in the world, but if your vehicle is out of alignment is going to drive terrible.
    Take it easy, it gets better!

    • Thanks for your advice, Rod. It’s probably a good idea for me to see a doctor, just in case it’s something that might happen again.

      • I really have seen results in my child( under 2 and myself in chiropractor care. I’m waiting to hear back from my Chrio friend whom has access to a good database of chrio’s I’ll update you once I hear back from him. ( he’s in Boulder, CO region, but has connections all throughout the USA.

  5. I had a self inflicted back injury (i.e., Crossfit) that resulted in a bulging disc that left me similarly locked up. My wife had to push me in a wheel chair around Disneyland! Humiliating for an otherwise healthy then-35 year old. Physical therapy and a religious devotion to the stretches and exercises they showed me had me back on my feet in a few months. If it’s disc related, not muscular, definitely look into PT. And take it slow and steady on the recovery or you’ll find yourself back where you started; something I had a VERY hard time doing.

    • I’m sorry to hear that, Ethan. I struggle with being patient too–I’ve already done quite a few things today (like carrying my 20-pound cat to the vet) that I probably shouldn’t be doing.


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