Is Muscle tension a symptom of PsA?

When I first went to see a Rheumy, she thought I might have Lupus, so she started me on Plaquenil, it took about 7 months to start working, all of the systemic muscle tension and stiffness, especially in my neck back and legs, started to relax, my Chiropractor that was doing pressure point therapy noticed right away, he used to call it the miracle drug. After two years my new Rheumy took me off it, saying it was bad for Ps, I explained that it was the only thing helping, but they took me off it, and eventually the symptoms came back. I asked my latest Rheumy what caused this and why did Plaquenil help, as they were Dx’ing it as FMS, she did not know…

The reason I bring this up, Remicade has started to help me, it has relaxed all the muscles in my neck and legs, back is still problematic, but it is a hot mess. So I am wondering if this stiffness and tension is caused by inflammation, or enthesitis? My “normal” SIJ are still acting up, but I think they are pretty damaged, even though they are normal… :wink:

Muscle tension has been a big part of my PsA journey. Plaquenil has mostly just helped relieve some inflammation (not all of it), and my rheumatologist is fine with prescribing me a mild muscle relaxer every night before bed for the muscle tension.

My last Rheumy gave me muscle relaxers, but she thought this was Fibro, not PsA, but when I did a nuclear scan a lot of inflammation showed up.

My personal theory is that your muscles tense in response to the pain and discomfort your body experiences. I also think the PsA symptoms of tendonitis, enthesitis and ligament involvement causes secondary muscle problems. I don’t know if I am right but my view of this is that muscles are the casualties or secondary victims of PsA


I agree with that, MacMac…at times I felt like my muscles were the main problem. Just like fatigue is probably partly a casualty of the other PsA symptoms.


Sometimes it just gets so confusing what body part is actually hurting…and often what I identify is not the origin…or is it…???

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Pain, muscle tension, etc are only symptoms in PsA, not the end. We concentrate on these issues (and why wouldn’t we?) which is fine. BUT where the problem comes in is we figure if we eliminate some of the symptoms, we have controlled the disease. NOTHING could be further from the truth or be more dangerous.

It shouldn’t take losing track of time and location during rush hour on the 405 between San Diego and LA because the pain has been gone for a while and the disease moved to your heart to make one realize “oh Chit” I guess I have a bigger problem than I thought. I’m not entirley certain that for some of us in constant denial, that we we aren’t better off having some of these symptoms never go away so we continue to treat the actual disease…

Agree!! I prefer ‘nice’ (haha) little symptoms ideally.

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For me, I see any improvement as good, after taking 3 other biologics and Otezla and not havine any indication that the disease was letting up, having relief from pretty much every muscle group is not a little thing. Right now, I am trying to be able to continue treatment, due to the arcane medical diagnostic system, any light in the darkness is a good thing.

As far as the 405 analogy, my treatment regemine for this disease has been like taking surface streets from New York to California, in fraffic, through gang areas with drive by shootings, The muscle relief is just getting on the on-ramp of 405 freeway, not the end…

Defintely feel my muscles over react. Getting them relaxed is still a journey but I’m getting there. Add in a fractured pelvis and seriously I thought I was going mad. Add in now its recovery and I now realise I’m not mad at all. Diazepam helped me intially but after a week I hated how it made me feel.

That would be painful! I am getting a better grasp as to which pain is with which disease or condition, overlap with OA, DDD, bulging discs, ruptured discs, “normal” SIJ pain etc… Now I can monitor my PsA a little better. Mainly it is looking at when the pain comes, is it on waking, during sleep, during the day, or all the time.

The SIJ’s are very angry right now, the radio frequency ablations are wearing off at the 6 month mark as the nreves grow back, I hope I don’t get the run around from insurance, if they deny payment, I can fall back on the $500 cash price from my Pain Management doctor. Can’t wait to tell him that the SIJ is normal, he will get a kick out of that…

When I refer to muscle tension this is taught muscle like the type that rip the Achilles tendon off the bone.
Another question regarding muscles, Does anyone have the problem of build up of calcium in the skin, posibly due to continued inflammation? I have patches on my thighs that will bend the needle when trying to inject MTX, the needle will not penetrate the skin. When the needle does go in, it makes a crackling sound…

I’ve suffered with muscle tension/stiffness for years, and my rheumatologist has consistently prescribed muscle relaxants The specific Rx needs to be changed every few years as my body seems to build up a tolerance for them and they become progressively less effective.

I had some side effects from muscle relaxers, especially when I slept, pretty restless wild dreams.

Muscle tension and spasms are big in my life too. Temazapan three times a day is what I take. Between the Enbrel shots twice a week, temazapan, methotraxate and meloxicam you’d think I’d be feeling better. I’m just afraid of how bad it would be without taking all this additional poison! Anyway, it’s all guesswork I think. Different symptoms pop up on everyone. The side effects of all the drugs is no fun either.
Sorry that I can’t be more positive.It is what it is.

Since the PsA diagnosis, I have noticed most of my muscles stay sore and stiff. Best thing I did was invest in a hot tub. When it is bad, I will soak about 3 hours before I go to bed.

My knees are the worst, especially the right knee because it has been operated on three times. SOme days, I just make to the hot tub and soak it for an hour.

Hot tub was much cheaper than a year of Otezla!

I think Lamb is right. Humira gave me my life back. Thanks to Humira, my SED rate, a good marker for me, has been normal or high normal twice in a row now; that’s never happened in 15 years. Getting my gall bladder out last year and getting my Graves disease under control (As of 10 days ago, I’M IN REMISSION) has led to only one flare this year (time last year, it was four).

I’ll deal with the PsA muscle tension and occasional spasms with cocoa butter, hot showers, heating pads and Xanaflex at night. We’re still working on the darned tendonitis.


Oh sixcatlawyer, sounds like lots of improvement for you. I hope you have loads of fun and that thevgood times last a long long long time.
PS Anyone who finds a treatment for tendonitis will be very rich!!!

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Tntlamb, I’m not sure I understand what you meant by what you said about relieving the symptoms isn’t getting to the root of the problem…(I’m on my IPhone and it doesn’t let me quote you)…because some of my worst symptoms before I started Enbrel were those nagging pains everywhere, muscle spasms, achy tendons, stiffness (seemed like my muscles). Those symptoms disappeared once I was on Enbrel, but now my feet have been bad for a couple years and my neck has been stiff and spasming into my back for about two months now. How does a person know if, in fact, their biologic IS working if new pains have arisen even though the old symptoms are still in check??? I keep thinking my new pains are due to damage to my joints in those areas.

I think it is important to have remmision with symptoms like muscle pain, it is not taking away the need to be vigilant in dealing with hidden symptoms, but besides eating right and getting exersise, we are doing all we can by taking the biologics, so I this statment was very strange to say the least, maybe our budding intern is spending to much time with the cadavers? :smirk:

Seriously though, I am thinking the Muscle pain is actually tendon infammation or tenosynovitis that pulls on the muscles and connection points causing the muscles to be taught? Is this part of PsA or another disease?