Early Onset Rigor Mortis?

Note: When I published this post, I somehow deleted the paragraph about how I amuse myself by making up crazy names for my symptoms, like Cardboard Bones for those days when I wake up feeling like my bed is nothing more than a single layer of cardboard over a cement floor and my bones are digging into the cardboard, or D.U.I.B.F., driving while under the influence of brain fog (which I fear will become a real violation someday!). Early Onset Rigor Mortis is another one of those things I made up to amuse myself. EORM is not real! Sorry if I inadvertently mislead anyone. 🙂

I had to go and do it. Last week I made the mistake of noticing that my muscles were loose and happy, without any pain caused from muscle tightness. I still had pain but not that awful pain caused by muscle tightness. I was relieved! I was grateful…I was stupid.

I don’t know if I’m psychic and sense these things coming or if my subconscious is getting confused and mistakes my being grateful for not having pain for the desire to have pain but it always happens. I think, “wow! I haven’t had a trigger point headache for months,” and BAM!, within days I have a trigger point headache. I think, “my feel have felt great lately!,” and BAM!, my feet start hurting. And this time, “wow, my muscles haven’t been tight and painful!” Three days later, BAM! here I am, feeling like rigor mortis is setting in.

This time is especially disappointing because I actually thought I had discovered the cure for my muscle tightness: a nightly dose of valerian root. About six weeks ago, I started taking a 1/2 tsp to 1 tsp of valerian tincture and a tiny dose (1/4 tablet/1 mg) of my usual muscle relaxer before bed every night (although I’m sure mixing the two is something not recommended by anyone with any sense or know-how). However ill-advised, the combination provided great sleep and happier muscles, with no morning hangover. For several weeks, my muscles felt great. I thought I was really on to something, that my days of muscle tension pain were over.

Ha! Will I ever learn?

Looking back, I did notice a little more muscle tension over the past few days. A burning sensation in my right shoulder, a pulling sensation around the fatty tumor in my low back, a little more neck stiffness. But it didn’t seem like it was leading up to this, a massive headache caused by extreme muscle tension and tenderness in my hips, back, shoulders and neck. I can’t think of anything I did that would cause my muscles to get stiff so fast. The only thing that I know of that causes a body to stiffen so quickly is rigor mortis, hence the new name for this condition: Early Onset Rigor Mortis.

The only good things about Early Onset Rigor Mortis are, a) you don’t actually have to be dead to get it, and, b) it is temporary. The best way to get rid of it is to move, to walk, bend and stretch. These are also the most painful things to do. I’m not going to lie, EORM is the most painful of all my chronic pains, worse than a migraine even. Working out EORM takes hours of forcing myself to move when every beat of my heart is like a sledge hammer pounding on the inside of my skull. I just want to curl up in a ball and try to hide from the pain but I’ve found that just prolongs the misery. It’s better to get up and get moving.

Other things that help me are taking Formula 303 (a natural muscle relaxant containing valerian, passionflower and magnesium), applying heat to the areas of tension and tenderness and massaging some warming and/or antispasmodic essential oils to the tense areas. Ginger and black pepper are helpful for warming and chamomile, lavender and marjoram are good for easing tension.

Today was pretty miserable but tomorrow should be better. It’s like the muscle tension (EORM) has to reach a certain point before it will start easing but, once it reaches that point, it usually fades away as quickly as it came. It’s a strange thing, Early Onset Rigor Mortis.

Have you ever had EORM? If so, what helps you?

Do you ever sense conditions coming on days before they appear?


15 thoughts on “Early Onset Rigor Mortis?

    1. Oh, I don’t cope that well. I snapped at my husband for daring to mention something I was supposed to do but didn’t. Bad headaches make the claws come out!

  1. I’m sorry to hear that you’re dealing with EORM. I definitely understand the whole intuitive sense of symptoms coming on before they occur. Usually that’s a forewarning (“If you don’t take it easy, you’re gonna crash”). Hope you feel better soon! xx

  2. Just hearing the words Rigor Mortis creeps me out. So sorry you’ve been BAM’d after you’d been feeling so much better lately Trisha, hope everything improves soon. ❤

  3. Glad you are feeling better today. I had never heard of EORM, but it makes sense because we don’t move enough and our muscles do tighten. I tried valerian root at night and it didn’t help me much. I purchased a fitbit and am trying to increase my movements and track them.

  4. I made EORM up but it should be a real condition! I certainly feel like I have rigor mortis some days. One think I learned about valerian is that it is dose dependent. It takes a 1/2 to full teaspoon of the tincture to lull me into sleep. The amount in the Formula 303 isn’t enough to put me to sleep but it is for one of my friends. It just depends on the person. Luckily, valerian is safe enough to experiment with. The fitbit sounds really cool. I hope it works well for you!

  5. I just stumbled upon your blog and it made me laugh so hard. This is exactly what I told my rheumatologist this afternoon, “I feel like I am in rigor mortis!” It is so hard to describe my symptoms and I always get a strange look from the doctor due to my colorful descriptions. Stumbling upon your blog entry has validated the way I feel. My second fave is, “I feel like I need to be stretched on the rack!” Nothing like a little medieval torture humor to lighten the spirits!

    1. I’m glad my post gave you a laugh! These conditions are so much easier to take with a sense of humor, not that I’m always able to. The brain fog and dysfunction are the symptoms that tend to get me feeling down. I didn’t have much rigor mortis in the summer but, now that fall is just around the corner, I feel it returning. What strange illnesses CFS and FMS are!

  6. So what have you been diagnosed with? This made up EORM sounds like what I’m experiencing along with other weird symptoms. My doc prescribed gabapentin which I’ve just started taking (don’t holdout much hope for it helping though), but he hasn’t made a diagnosis. What specialty is your doctor?

    1. I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. I don’t have a specialist and was originally diagnosed by a naturopath. I know many people that Gabapentin has helped. I was given a prescription of it but haven’t been brave enough to try it, mostly because it can cause weight gain and I don’t need any help gaining weight. I hope it works for you. These rigor mortis-like symptoms are not fun.

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