Old 05-17-2017, 08:45 AM #1 (permalink)
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Default help with painful, strained, tight ab/core muscles

I seem to strain my abs and core muscles (wrapping around to my lower/mid back) very easily. For example if I have a cold and cough, even if I'm not coughing much at all, those muscles get terribly strained. Lately they have been really strained and I can't even pinpoint what set it off this time. Last night the pain was so bad I took 4 advil and it barely touched it. The muscles were so tight in my stomach that I felt like I was going to throw up. I used a heating pad and my husband massaged my lower back and along my sides, but nothing gave me much relief.

I am also having trouble bearing down with these muscles to pass stools..even though my stools are appropriately soft and should be easy, I struggle to push them down to where my rectal muscles could take over. Sorry if that's gross but I need help.

Does anyone have any suggestions for any of this? The pain is what bothers me most. It keeps me up at night when I am experiencing strain and stiffness in these muscles. Bathroom troubles are more of an annoyance.
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Old 05-17-2017, 10:48 AM #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: help with painful, strained, tight ab/core muscles

What are you sitting in and what are you sleeping in? You can't make the muscles stronger but you can give them more support in rest and activity. I would look at some combination of recliner/wheelchair/hospital bed if you do not have those -- places where you are not lying flat or moving from side to side when you cough, etc. Similar in toileting -- make sure your feet are supported.

An abdominal binder part-time might help with the pain, if you want to try, as well as stronger meds.

Unfortunately, core weakness is part of the disease for most people, though to varying extents.
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Old 05-17-2017, 04:11 PM #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: help with painful, strained, tight ab/core muscles

I lay on a regular bed. I think whatever I'm doing to strain those muscles is happening during the day because I experience discomfort primarily at night. Usually it wakes me up with pain in the middle of the night. During the day when I'm sitting it is usually at my computer chair. My legs are still great so I move around on my feet daily.
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Old 05-17-2017, 06:16 PM #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: help with painful, strained, tight ab/core muscles

You may be straining muscles by reaching when you mouse, etc. as well as plain sitting (esp. if that is when you cough). You can get attachments (Ergorest) that will keep your arms closer to your body, on Amazon. You may also want to evaluate how much support your current chair provides.
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Old 05-17-2017, 07:28 PM #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: help with painful, strained, tight ab/core muscles

My back and stomach muscles were extremely painful early on....long before any of my limbs felt weak. Laurie suggested a lift chair and I bought a Golden lift chair with all the extras. I put a heating pad on the back and it made all the difference. I already had an adjustable bed for neck issues I had before ALS but these two things helped so much. If your gait is off even a little, it can throw your back out.

Mine was actually so bad I was on Oxy for two months, then on it again six months later for two more months (after packing all my stuff to move to a new condo.)

Massage made it worse because the therapist went just a bit too hard on my muscles. Even swimming made it worse until I started using a flotation device around my waist and now being in the pool helps my back a lot.

Honestly, the lift chair Laurie suggested was the best money I've ever spent on anything. It's called the Golden Cloud. Everyone around you will want to use it and it's very pretty, too.
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Old 05-18-2017, 12:41 AM #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: help with painful, strained, tight ab/core muscles

Don't disregard the pooping part. When your muscles weaken you can develop constipation which then can cause painful hemmorhoids. Keep the stools moving as best you can. I do pear juice with Miralax every two days, magnesium at night, which also helps relax muscles, and senna tea if things stop moving. It is a delicate balance between too loose and soft.
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Old 05-18-2017, 06:48 AM #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: help with painful, strained, tight ab/core muscles

Kim, what exactly is a lift chair? I looked the one up you said and the picture looked kind of like an arm chair, but it was from a medical supply store so I know it must be more than just a comfy chair!

KW1234, thanks I will try that. I did end up using a laxative last week because I was unable to go for 4 days in a row.
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Old 05-18-2017, 07:23 AM #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: help with painful, strained, tight ab/core muscles

A lift chair raises you to an almost standing position. I am pretty sure Kim's also reclines to a zero gravity position. We had similar for my mother. It was great. My local medical supply store has some on display. Yours might too.

If I had room in my living room I would own one now.
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Old 05-18-2017, 06:14 PM #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: help with painful, strained, tight ab/core muscles

Can you guys explain more about how the lift chair would help with not straining core muscles? Would it basically do the work for me for getting up so that I am not having to use those muscles to get up and sit down?

I am in so much pain right now, and I took 4 advil an hour ago. I don't know what else I can take because that's a lot, but it's not helping. I see my neuro tomorrow at the ALS clinic so I will ask her for help too. I'm wondering if a a muscle relaxer medication would help since it would at least untighten the muscles. It feels like they are a fist in my stomach and lower back and makes me nauseous.
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Old 05-18-2017, 06:30 PM #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: help with painful, strained, tight ab/core muscles

I am so sorry. Yes it would pretty much stand you up and lower you down.

Are you sure what you are currently feeling is all muscular? Might some of it be constipation? I am a fan of ice for muscle strains though cold now stiffens my muscles so you might need heat. Have you tried one or both?

Do ask your neuro what she recommends. Muscle relaxers might help spasms but do be aware sometimes relaxing spasticity can reveal more weakness. My sister had significant spasticity but when she was still walking found too much muscle relaxant impacted her gait significantly. This may not be an issue for you but do be aware it can happen

I hope you feel better
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Old 05-18-2017, 06:57 PM #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: help with painful, strained, tight ab/core muscles

It's definitely muscle pain. I've had some discomfort from constipation off and on the last 2 weeks but that feels different. What's happening right now is the same muscle pain I've had after coughing or vomiting.. it's my abs and the muscles wrapping around my lower back.
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Old 05-18-2017, 07:30 PM #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: help with painful, strained, tight ab/core muscles

Kristina,

The lift chair Laurie recommended and I bought was the Golden Cloud. It will take you to any position, including flat on your back to standing up. It has two motors so it can also go into zero gravity. It was the only thing that helped me with back pain. It is actually more comfortable than my bed. They are sold through medical supply stores. I'm 5'6" and weigh about 140 (when I got it I was about 125.) I bought the large and it is perfect. My feet don't hang off when I'm reclining and it is very comfortable for watching TV. If you go onto Golden's web site you can see the various models. I bought the faux leather (it is softer and nicer than my stressless leather chairs. I'm attaching a few pictures. I don't have one of the chair in the standing position but it will stand you right up. There is a TV setting that just elevates your legs and keeps your back straight but the two motors allow you to be in just about any position you can imagine.

I know how disabling back pain can be. I NEVER thought I would take Oxy but it broke the pain cycle and I was able to stop taking it after a couple of months. I do think the combination of lift chair and heating pad (the Cloud has a heater but it wasn't warm enough to be therapeutic for me.) I also have an adjustable bed but I usually just sleep flat on it with a pillow under my knees to support my back. It works.
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Old 05-18-2017, 07:35 PM #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: help with painful, strained, tight ab/core muscles

I also think the magnesium serves to help relax your muscles and loosen your bowels. I've been taking at least 1,200 mg a day and, along with psyllium, it gives me at least two movements a day and no constipation or diarrhea. You just need to drink a lot of water if you go the psyllium route and you must be able to swallow easily. I went to the gastro shortly after starting the Oxy and he told me to get off the miralax and do psyllium. It made a big difference.

Also, when you are on the toilet, it helps to have a foot stool to give yourself correct posture to make the poop come out. I saw a YouTube video on it and it works.
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Old 05-19-2017, 11:15 AM #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: help with painful, strained, tight ab/core muscles

Ok, thanks for explaining!
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Old 05-19-2017, 12:00 PM #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: help with painful, strained, tight ab/core muscles

One other thing about lift chairs is that I would recommend going through a local medical supply and not buying it online. You can get a better price (I saved around $500) and you will get service should something happen to it.
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