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    Why The Stiff Muscles?
    Mark Pellegrino, MD posted:
    Good evening FMily,

    Pixie and others have asked about muscle stiffness in fibro...what causes it? There are a number of reasons/theories why our muscles are actually stiffer, tighter, have more spasms, and hurt more. And our magnificent pain-amplifying system is obligated to send these pain signals to our brains, so we can't ignore the muscle symptoms.

    What are these reasons for increased muscle stiffness? I think it would be fun and educational if you told me what you think they are! Yes, I'm taking a break and letting you do the thinking.

    Let's hear your thoughts. There are no wrong ideas so don't worry about what you say. I'll come back to this later and summarize...I'm betting you will get ALL the reasons I have in mind!!!

    Dr. P
    mrahoe responded:
    hi dr p

    im thinking the main reason would be that we are not using our muscles as much so they stiffin up on us. im not sure if lactic acid would play a role or not...

    May satan walk in your shoes today
    angelswife responded:
    Good Morning, Dr P!
    Nice to see you on the forum...your input is enlightening and helpful. I appreciate it!

    I have wondered if the stiffness has to do with lower levels of ATP in our bodies. Since the ATP is low, our muscles can't convert food to fuel as efficiently; therefore they wear out faster and get stiff. Like a car running out of gas...They also take longer to recover from any exertion for the same reason.

    [As an aside, what are your thoughts on D-Ribose? I've read it can help with the Fibro symptoms by raising the ATP levels in our bodies. It is also said to help with chronic fatigue. What's your opinion?>

    Perhaps the muscle stiffness is a protective response to the pain signals sent by the nerves. It could be the body's way of trying to protect itself from harm, even though there's no evidence of actual harm. Just another way that things can go haywire!
    talkfibro9 replied to angelswife's response:
    Hi Dr. P

    I agree with angelswife. Our muscles our stiff because of mitocondrial dysfunction. Our cells are not producing the energy required for our muscles to work properly. I am curious as to your comments on D-Ribose as well. I have tried it, and L carnitine, and did not find any significant improvement, however I might not have tried it for long enough. I have had great success with GABA.
    Wolfsong452 responded:
    there are stiff muscles, like when you've overworked and are stiff and sore. Something like this can be worked out, with some stretching etc.

    I would call this FM muscle problem more of the muscles are locking up. My fingers, my lower legs are in extreme mode right now.

    so, when I"m wanting to change their position, like from sitting to standing, or stop typing or writing, then closing the fingers to the plams of my hands. Extremene pain. They do not WANT TO BEND.

    Arthirits? maybe, yet, I can tell when the thigh muscles are so contracted and locked up, after I've set for less than 30 mins. that it's not the joints.

    ok, now why? hmm, don't know any chemical reasons, my lack of knowing, is due to not being educated in the chemical or working aspects of the body.

    but from what I see, it's more like the body has frozen or tightened up due to excessive internal or molecular (well maybe not that deep) spasms, or what I call heebie jeebies.

    This is where there seems to be the feeling of snakes or electrical spasms running up and down my shoulders, neck, down the spine to the lower back.

    The only thing that helps a bit, is actually getting up and moving in a hot shower.

    Hot or cold packs don't help.

    It's like when someone is having a sezuire, or a pedi-mal sezuire,

    you can't always see the or feel the muscles spasms, but, you can get locked up from it.

    So is it musclecular or neuro? hmm,

    I think it's more muscular, due to the differences in pain, from my torn rotator cuff, and the pinched ulnar nerve, and carpel tunnel syndrome.

    The ulnar, made my arm feel like dead weight, since I had it at the same time of my carpel tunnel, I didn't have the pain that wakes you up in the middle of the night.

    Nowl that the ulnar is no longer pinched to numbness, I can now feel the pain, and can actually follow it, along the line where it hurts.

    The muscle tightness, etc. do not feel the same way.

    hence my 2 cents.
    Wolfsong452 replied to Wolfsong452's response:
    I hit the send button to soon.

    What else I wanted to say, is when I get that locked muscle epidsodes, it's much like when someone is shivering and shaking from the cold,

    yet, to the point to where you can't move, due to the body being so cold, that the shivering has gone internal.

    So, no external cramping, muscle spasms, but,

    yet, I still feel the pain.
    pixe5 responded:
    I still think it has something to do with disturbed sleep patterns that make it difficult for the muscles to repair themselves during the night. I've heard the terms "micro-tears" meaning that there are tiny tears in fibro muscles that don't completely heal because of low-growth hormone. Non-fibros also get the same wear and tear in their muscles from daily activities but the muscles are repaired during the night by growth hormone.
    Wolfsong452 replied to pixe5's response:

    now that sounds more up my line, the muscle spasms, not healing due to not getting that deep sleep,

    ok, confused here,

    what's low growth hormones have to do with sleeping? or FM?
    xperky responded:
    My personal experience indicates a chemical, not activity, source. I say this because FM came on gradually for me. I was very active and physically fit three years ago. I was moving, and doing demanding physical work on a regular basis. Then, I developed pains. I thought they were the result of too much effort sometimes. But then it got harder to recover. Things got worse with pain and stiffness over the next two years. Despite my efforts to remain active, the pain and stiffness started to prevent activity.

    Therefore I suspect my painfull, stiff muscles are a result of a chemical imbalance that increased during menopause. There has also been intense stress in my life over the last three years. I suspect the stress added to the chemical imbalances.

    I concur that disrupted sleep and the resulting lack of muscle repair is a big issue. I feel much better on the nights I get good sleep. (Which was when?) Dr P, you have said ATP is one chemical of importance for muscle repair. I assume there are many others in the loop with it!

    I am so interested in what everyone is saying here. We each have our unique experiences with FM, and most of them we'd just as soon not experience any more!
    Life is wonderful when lived with love and compassion, Margaret
    dollbug responded:
    Hello Dr. P....MiMi in NC....I am not quite sure what causes the muscle stiffness....but I do know that since I am unable to sleep like a normal person a bed....that I do not have this problem....unless I really overdo myself....Since I sleep in my recliner and on pillows too....I no longer wake up sore and I am thinking that our spine has a lot to do with this..

    I also think that taking the magnesium and malate combination supplement helps this problem...I do know that if and when I have to sit on a hard chair or bench that I have problems with this....and I do try to stay away from doing this kind of thing for long...

    I hope that you will shed some light on this subject though...

    Thanks again for all of your time with us here..

    Take care..

    IN GOD WE TRUST....MAY GOD BLESS AND GUIDE AMERICA.... My personal exchanges are Vitamin D and Pain and Wrath of the Dragon....if you care to visit..
    booch007 responded:
    I am right in there too with the chemical issues. Deep chemical issues. Dr Travelle looked in to the endplates of the muscles at the chemical synapes there....that was years ago.

    I am amazed that I am moving and doing well, lay down for a nap and seize right up after the nap (includes a dream)...and I am at square one and have to warm up and stretch all over again. The pain and immobility tough. (better not to nap I say at times..)

    I see it as a complex chemical muscle thing. Which in turn, given the soreness and pain and depressed feeling of breing trapped in a body of failing then you alter the brain chemistry to be off as well.....I often think about drug addicts, the Nazi camp survivors and their malnutrition...if they all deal with dysfunction in their bodies like us??

    A complex problem with a few twists and turns for the doctor to work with but no true answer, as we are all different and at different stages of dys-repair. That is my take on me....

    After vomiting so much last week I can't turn my head or function with the Trap....I would shoot my own trigger points in the neck if I could* to release me.....awful situation.

    Good post for the fmily to chew on...........Thanks, NAncy B

    Or, are you testing ? to see what we have learned from all your posts over time?? Remember I have been gone, so if I failed...I was gone and didn't see* alot of them! NOW I am copying and pasting and KEEPING THEM !!!!!!!!! Nancy B
    talkfibro9 replied to booch007's response:
    As Dr. P said, in his opening discussion, there are a number of theories, so I think we are alll right!
    ..lack of deep sleep therefore low growth hormone and muscles do not repair
    .. not enough energy atp production in our cells
    ... fluctuating neurotransmitter levels...serotonin, gaba, etc which effect sleep and pain
    ....and trying to function everyday when our bodies would rather not
    talkfibro9 replied to talkfibro9's response:
    Dr. P
    I just read your response to Margaret-4 days ago about muscle stiffness and pain.
    I also read your link ...Mechanisms of Fibro....from 8 months ago and your car/freeway anology..central sensitization. I have read so much about his stuff for years and am so grateful to have you hear to explain in a way that makes sense. Thank you so much. I wish I found this group alot sooner.
    I also just read at genetic discovery..they are calling it...about a gene mutuation called ApoE4.
    SunflowerJulez responded:
    I am new to this community and was lucky enough have this as the first subject I read.

    From my personal experience the less sleep I get the worse the muscle stiffness and pain I have. When I am lucky enough to get a good night sleep (about few hours straight) my muscles are not quite as sore.

    Additional thought, when I am a little more active during the day I wake up shortly after falling asleep with more muscle pain than when I fell asleep.
    1wareaglefan replied to SunflowerJulez's response: all sound so smart! I would've gone with the sleep theory, except that my sleep has improved with the change in antidepressant, and I still wake up extremely stiff. So I guess I lean towards the other explanations.

    Ok, Dr. P.....please don't keep us in suspense any longer! What is the reason?

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