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Muscle tension and slurred speech
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Muscle tension and slurred speech

Let me start by saying I have just recently began to suffer from panic attacks induced by health anxiety.  I dont know how I got so bad.  But about two months ago I convinced myself I had throat cancer.  I had a bad case of Globus Hystericus and I got checked out and everything was fine.  But my anxiety level has gone through the roof and my GP has me on xanax xr which seems to have taken care of the glubus, but I still feel a bit panicky.    

About the same time my anxiety began I started noticing a problem with speech.  Its like I have to try a little harder to get the words out or else they become jumbled together.  No one claims to notice any change in my speech pattern.  I made the mistake of googling slurred speech as a symptom and of course came across ALS.  I refuse to go from panicing about throat cancer to ALS as I am fairly confident that my problem is stress/anxiety related.  I have a great deal of tension in the back of my neck and in my jaw.  I feel like my tongue is constanstly being flexed and pulled into the back of my mouth.  At times my tongue feels heavy and clumsy, not so much weak as just uncordinated.  

I guess my question is, can muscle tension in my neck and face cause speech abnormalities.  I supposse anything can be a side effect of stress.    
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1042487 tn?1275283499
Stress/anxiety, name it, can indeed cause slurred speech. The best example I can give you is speaking in front of a crowd. Some people get extremely stressed and their speech is affected.

I don't think the muscle tension could cause slurred speech but the anxiety and stress is causing the muscle tension therefore causing slurred speech.

Just to make sure it's nothing serious I would insist on a brain CT-scan or MRI if not already done. A CBC should be done too. Better be safe than sorry and after you will know what to work on and that is, anxiety and stress management.

Avatar f tn
have you been tested for tmj which causes many of your symptoms. neck pain and stiffness, sore throat,pain in jaw.
Avatar f tn
i m new to this forum, but i feel like we can help each other. I have had severe anxiety attacks for the last three years, but have jjust about cured myself by looking into things on the internet and diagnosing myself, then going to my doctor to confirm. Ive done all this without drugs,since im the one in so many that gets all the side effects. Im getting better and better, I was down to working 2 days a week instead of five and had to have someone drive me to work and pick me up. I am 4 days a week now and can drive most days myself.
1415711 tn?1286284954
Thanks for the response.  Its weird, but I can't even be certain that I am slurring.  I feel like I am, but hearing myself I dont sound like it.  LIke I mentioned, its more like the effort to speak clearly has increased.  I am not having any other symptoms (outside of the anxiety itself).  No problems swallowing or chewing.  I am also two weeks off of nicotine (cold turkey) and on xanax for the first time.  Needless to say, there is alot going on mentally and physically right now.  I just hate it because I seem to continue to find things to worry about.

I dont think I am going to pursue any more tests right now.  I was just scoped at an ENT last week because I had convinced my self I had throat cancer.  I had post nasal drip.  I am taking next week off and my wife and I are going to NC mountains (from FL) and spend time riding the motorycycle and hiking.  If I am still having problems after trying to relax than perhaps I will go for some additional testing.  
1415711 tn?1286284954
I have not been tested for TMJ, and I cant say I know exactly what it is (I have heard of it of course).  But I can tell you this, I wake my wife up grinding my teeth at night.  And I am constantly flexing my jaw to one side as it kind of pops out of place and make a crack when I do.  I never thought much about it as its never caused me any pain.

I hope we can help each other.  I have, for as long as I can remember felt like an anxious person.  But just recently as I entered my thirties it seems to have gotten much worse.  Unlike you, the internet seems to make my anxiety worse.  I do not like taking any drugs and I work very hard to take good care of myself.  But I feel like I am out of options.  The xanax defintately helps, but I do not want to be on it forever.  
1042487 tn?1275283499
Sounds like anxiety induced TMJ and tensions. Xanax will help in the short run but you will quickly develop a tolerance and it won't help your cognition and it's a fact because it is disrupting your cholinergic system and affecting the GABAa receptor related to a bunch of functions and especially memory, muscles tone etc.

A more appropriate treatment would be to try a sedating antidepressant with good results for chronic tension headaches and TMJ like amiltriptyline, amiltriptilyne won't cause cognitive impairments like benzodiazepines due to it's own kind and neutrophic effects and will help with you sleep and release tension during the night. A good muscle relaxant to take at night to is tizanidine, it won't cause cognitive impairments because it's working on the a2 adrenergic receptors rather than the GABAa or GABAb receptors like benzodiazepine or baclofen. Magnesium supplementation can also help relaxing your muscles.

Relaxation, stress management etc. are all things that could help you but it's easier said than done.

Any change in your medications, dosages or schedule must be done under the supervision of a physician let it be supplements or prescription drugs.

Avatar m tn
Have you considered Lyme disease?  I had all of the symptoms you had and was told for months that it was all stress, in my head.  I was told to seek therapy and go on Prozac.  I was given klonopin.

It turns out anxiety is a common side effect of disseminated lyme disease and Bartonella (a common co-infection with lyme).   I never remember a bite (less than 50% do) and never had a rash (less than 40% do).

See the symptom list far below.  (This is only some of them...there are really more than 70.)

The key to getting diagnosed properly is the doctor.  I had a terrible time back in Feb-April of 2010 with weird symptoms, dizziness, anxiety, forgetfulness, brian fog, twitching, jaw pain, slurrred speech, etc, etc.  I had dozens of tests, including a lyme ELISA test...all normal.  I was told it was stress, that I had a somatization disorder, and told to go on Prozac and seek therapy.  I"m only 35!  

I then found another doctor who happened to be an ILADS trained LLMD (Lyme Literate MD).  She did a Western Blot test from a lab called Igenex.  I came back highly positive for lyme and some "co-infections" (Bartonella and Babesia.)  I never had a rash nor do I remember a bite.  Lyme is in all 50 states.

I'm now in treatment and am 90% better!   I have a few more months to go. All of my anxiety / brain fog is GONE!  

Just a word of caution...lyme is very controversial.  The mainstream doctors and infectious disease guru's deny that Chronic Lyme exists and feel it is easy to diagnose with good tests and easy to treat with 2-3 weeks of antibiotics.   This just isn't true and there have been no double blinded studies to show that lyme is eradicated from the body with a short course of antibiotics.

This is why you need an ILADS trained doctor.   You can go to their website and download Dr. Burrascano's treatment guideline.  It is the "bible" of lyme.   Regular doctors will say these aren't symptoms and that it is in your head.

Not saying you have lyme...but anxiety is a common symptom.  I've met people who've been told they've had ALS, Anxiety, Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue for 10 years when it was really lyme.  They got well once going to an LLMD and getting proper, agressive treatment.

Check out the documentary Under Our Skin (google it).  There are also clips on youtube.  You can probably rent from your local library.

You can get well!  lymenet is a good resource also.


Lyme Disease Symptoms List
1. Unexplained fevers, sweats, chills, or flushing
2. Unexplained weight change--loss or gain
3. Fatigue, tiredness, poor stamina
4. Unexplained hair loss
5. Swollen glands: list areas____
6. Sore throat
7. Testicular pain/pelvic pain
8. Unexplained menstrual irregularity
9. Unexplained milk production: breast pain
10.Irritable bladder or bladder dysfunction
11.Sexual dysfunction or loss of libido
12.Upset stomach
13.Change in bowel function-constipation, diarrhea
14.Chest pain or rib soreness
15.Shortness of breath, cough
16.Heart palpitations, pulse skips, heart block
17.Any history of a heart murmur or valve prolapse?
18.Joint pain or swelling: list joints_____________
19.Stiffness of the joints, neck, or back
20.Muscle pain or cramps
21.Twitching of the face or other muscles
23.Neck creeks and cracks, neck stiffness, neck pain
24.Tingling, numbness, burning or stabbing sensations, shooting pains
25.Facial paralysis (Bell's Palsy)
26.Eyes/Vision: double, blurry, increased floaters, light sensitivity
27.Ears/Hearing: buzzing, ringing, ear pain, sound sensitivity
28.lncreased motion sickness, vertigo, poor balance
29.Lightheadedness, wooziness
31.Confusion, difficulty in thinking
32.Diffculty with concentration, reading
33.Forgetfuiness, poor short term memory
34.Disorientation: getting lost, going to wrong places
35.Difficulty with speech or writing
36.Mood swings, irritability, depression
37.Disturbed sleep-too much, too little, early awakening
38.Exaggerated symptoms or worse hangover from alcohol

Symptoms for Bartonella and Babesia (common co-infections with lyme)

Bartonellosis symptoms:

Common symptoms of bartonellosis include:

___Fatigue (often with agitation, unlike Lyme disease, which is more exhaustion)

___Low grade fevers, especially morning and/or late afternoon, often associated with feelings of "coming down with the flu or a virus"

___Sweats, often morning or late afternoon (sometimes at night) - often described as "thick" or "sticky" in nature

___Headaches, especially frontal (often confused with sinus) or on top of head

___Eye symptoms including episodes of blurred vision, red eyes, dry eyes

___Ringing in the ears (tinnitus) and sometimes hearing problems (decreased or even increased sensitivity - so-called hyperacusis)

___Sore throats (recurring)

___Swollen glands, especially neck and under arms

___Anxiety and worry attacks; others perceive as "very anxious"

___Episodes of confusion and disorientation that are usually transient (and very scary); often can be seizure-like in nature

___Poor sleep (especially difficulty falling asleep); poor sleep quality

___Joint pain and stiffness (often both Left and Right sides as opposed to Lyme which is often on one side only with pain and stiffness that changes locations)

___Muscle pains especially the calves; may be twitching and cramping also

___Foot pain, more in the morning involving the heels or soles of the feet (sometimes misdiagnosed as plantar fasciitis)

___Nerve irritation symptoms which can be described as burning, vibrating, numb, shooting, etc.

___Tremors and/or muscle twitching

___Heart palpitations and strange chest pains

___Episodes of breathlessness

___Strange rashes recurring on the body often, red stretch marks, and peculiar tender lumps and nodules along the sides of the legs or arms, spider veins

___Gastrointestinal symptoms, abdominal pain and acid reflux

___Shin bone pain and tenderness



As with other co-infections, there is a lot of overlap of symptoms between Lyme disease and Babesiosis. An accumulation of the following signs and symptoms probably warrant testing and/or treatment of Babesiosis:


___Fatigue and often excessive sleepiness

___High fever at onset of illness

___Night sweats that are often drenching and profuse

___Severe muscle pains, especially the large muscles of the legs (quads, buttocks, etc.)

___Neurological symptoms often described as "dizzy, tipsy, and spaciness," similar to a sensation of "floating" or "walking off the top of a mountain onto a cloud"


___Episodes of breathlessness, "air hunger", and/or cough

___Decreased appetite and/or nausea

___Spleen and/or liver enlargement

___Abnormal labs (low white blood count, low platelet counts, mild elevation of liver enzymes, and elevated sed rate)

___Headaches (migraine-like, persistent, and especially involving the back of the head and upper neck areas)

___Joint pain (more common with Lyme and Bartonella)

___anxiety/panic (more common with Bartonella)

___Lymph gland swelling (more common with Bartonella and Lyme)
Avatar f tn
my tmj was stress induced. I had convinced myself that i had a brain tumor and throat cancer, now that I have been diagnosed, and i am taking a light muscle relaxer,lowest dose possible,and i cut them in half, minimum side effects,and now all the stiffness in my neck is gone,facial numbness is gone. Im getting better and better.
Avatar f tn
I also had the urge to talk more clearly!! strange isnt it, but I did slur,very slightly.
Avatar f tn
forgot to mention that the MAIN symptom of tmj is teeth grinding.
Avatar m tn
My TMJ went away when I treated my lyme.
Avatar m tn
To find out if you have TMJ, go see a dentist, not a website.  Same with treatment.  For teeth grinding, the dentist will make you a mouthpiece.  Your symptoms could be TMJ, but they could also be a jaw that got knocked out of place by an elbow in basketball or something like that.  It's very common.  I only know this because it happened to me.  I grind my teeth, but don't have TMJ.  Not every problem with the jaw is TMJ.  First, find out what's going on.  Some of this could very well be exacerbated by withdrawal from nicotine.  Your doc can also give you a blood test for several hard to find causes which can cause anxiety, including Lyme.  I know you're tired of tests and docs -- aren't we all -- but you're symptoms are real and treating it as anxiety if it isn't is how you end up on the wrong meds, and they're hard to stop taking so it's good to make sure you actually are taking the right ones and not just the ones that keep you quietly sedated.  Good luck.
1415711 tn?1286284954
Funny you say that, I boxed for 15 years.  I've had my butt kicked in the ring more times than I can count.  I dont mind if it is TMJ, or Lyme, or anxiety.  I just hate that I have to jump to the worse case scenario every time I have a symptom (perceived or real).  If I have a headache then its a brain tumor.  If I have a cough then its lung cancer.  My mouth feels funny and I feel like I'm having a hard time talking then I have ALS.  I caught myself staring at my tongue in the mirror with a small flashlight last night for twenty minutes, making note of every single potential oddity.  Have you ever looked at the very back of your tongue?  There is some biology back there that will make you run to the hospital if you dont know what they are.  I try to take good care of myself.  I excersize alot.  I dont eat junk food.  I get plenty of sleep.  I quit chewing tobacco.  I rarely drink.  But no matter what I do I am still going to get sick and eventually die.  The problem I have with that is that it could happen tomorrow, or in 80 years from now.  But all that means is I am in the same position of everyone else, I'm going to die and dont know when or how.  If I could learn to come to terms with that I think I will feel better.  But at the moment, I pretty panicked about it.    
Avatar m tn
That's why I mentioned what I mentioned -- that it might be something real and not imagined, but that these things are hard to diagnose.  Those of us with this stupid anxiety exaggerate things, and over time I think we just get frustrated over all the sheer idiocy of it.  But I've been guilty of blaming things on anxiety and finding out later they were real.  My neck hurt for years and I just assumed it was anxiety, but it turned out to be bad discs in the neck from an old auto accident.  And now that I know you boxed, well, I did martial arts, and wasn't very good at it, so I kept getting my ribs smashed in.  I finally realized that, hey, this is probably not helping my discs any getting thrown all over the place!  Anyway, I did get elbowed in basketball several times and for years my jaw was off and cramped up sometimes when I yawned.  But it did go away and it wasn't TMJ, so that's why I caution against jumping to conclusions but also against believing everything is just anxiety.  Tough line to toe, but you know, we're going to feel anxious anyway, might as well find out and try to hope you find a therapist one day who can help you out of this conditioned thinking.  Good luck to you.
Avatar m tn
Lunchbox1019, I really think it sounds like you have TMJ, even though the symptoms you feel may not lead you to believe that's it.  Sounds like you were a smoker, had some uncomfort in the back of your throat that made you worried you might have given yourself throat/oral cancer, panicked, quit smoking, started thinking about things it could be and panicked more, started stressing and having anxiety a lot, grinding your jaw a lot, and all this causing these other symptoms.  I went through the EXACT same thing!

I too was a smoker, I was going through a lot of stress during that time, law school, moving, personal life, etc. I realize now I was more stressed then than I realized at the time.  I became CONVINCED I had cancer of some kind, due to a pain/sensation in my throat and other symptoms. I quit smoking too as a result (sad it took THAT, but it did!), also cold turkey, and I guess I had begun grinding my teeth terribly even tho I never really realized I was.  I also have some ear uncomfort/'blockage' sometimes as a result of everything.  Got diagnosed with TMJ, had a dentist actually show me the imprints my teeth were making on eachother from the grinding, got a nightguard to sleep with, and that was it... Barely have ANY of those sensations anymore.  Throat 'pain' or spot-feeling went away (I credit kicking cigs for part of that too), dont have the ear problem anymore, and because I know it's just TMJ I don't have the anxiety about it anymore.

Again, I initially was reluctant to believe that the things I was feeling could ONLY be related to a jaw condition like that, they didn't all seem 'oral'.  But man, I'm telling you, your posts sound EXACTLY like what I went through.  Ask your dentist about TMJ, he may or may not send you to an ENT (Ear/Nose/Throat specialist), but will DEF put you in a nightguard for when you sleep.  And I think there's a good chance that this will solve ALL your problems!  I don't get any treatment or meds for my TMJ at all, simply knowing I have it has altered my behavior slightly enough that it's not a problem anymore.  Unfortunately, this isn't the case for everyone. TMJ can be very serious, and if left ignored can become worse and hamper your life.

Look into TMJ... and I hope you get better, bud.  Don't panic, that can't help and ONLY makes everything worse. Good luck.
1138687 tn?1360980244
Yeah, I get similar reactions in my head from stress and anxiety, and depression. It sounds/looks like you have these things. Self diagnosis for anxiety is common.. to search the interenet, but not helpful cos anxiety and real physical disease cause the same symptoms!!

Try to see your hadrship as a learning experience, as beauty ALWAYS comes with struggle! :) At least this is what I believe.

My sress gets so bad that my jaw cracks. I get so tense that my head makes little cramping noises, I am grinding my teeth a bit these days, I sometimes get anxiety so bad that I feel I am losing my mind/control, some head veins have developed on my head, which slowly subside completely, thankfully.. but they pop out during stress, both physically and mentally. The list goes on, and my symptoms change nature. But I have gotten better from these exterem episodes in my life, and I remain optimistic.

Hope is interesting, I think the reason why we have it is not because we want to be well and live, but because we know as a life for that existence is a completely fair and beautiful place.

The Buddhists say that no time is wasted, because all the time we spent worrying was time we were needing to learn the lessons our lives have been trying to teach us.

I recommend following Buddhist philosophy, or spirituality in general, as it is spirituality over the years which is the wisdom aquired from a long heritage of heartache and pain.

Thich Nhat Hanh has a lot to offer, and he is perhaps the worlds most famous spiritual leader alive.

ps- I'm not religious.

Avatar f tn
Was having all the same symptoms as u described ... And now just found this post! I'm wondering if u have these symptoms still and how u fixed or dealt with it?

Thanks so much
Avatar f tn
Dear Sir,
i feel back pull on tongue and heart beat also increases. I talk 4 much time i also feel powerless as i am going to die. Speed of my breathing increases. Sometime i feel disequailibrium.  I feel mostly all this when i am hungry.
Doctors say that i have nothing. Plz helpme if u can.
Avatar f tn
Dear Sir,
i feel back pull on tongue and heart beat also increases. I talk 4 much time i also feel powerless as i am going to die. Speed of my breathing increases. Sometime i feel disequailibrium.  I feel mostly all this when i am hungry.
Doctors say that i have nothing. Plz helpme if u can.
Avatar m tn
I know exactly what you're talking about and I was some what happy to hear that I am not the only one experiencing this! I feel like my mouth doesn't move right when I get nervous and then I start to talk out of the side of my mouth like a pirate or something! It drives my nuts but I notice it goes away when I am talking in comfortable envrionments. I do believe its anxiety of some sort... social perhaps?
Avatar m tn
Ive been experiencing some similar symptoms as the gentlemen above, although mine is not exactly slurred speech, its more like inability to speak,i want to speak but feels like i cant, i struggle to talk and when i do i can only say a few words, after that i really cant say more for some reason. At first i though it was social anxiety but even if i try talking to myself the same happens. Feels like i have to do an incredible effort to talk. I want to talk but at the same time when i do talk its massively uncomfortable. Ive been also experiencing sound sensitivity, not high or low frequency specifically but rather all sounds in general. They all seem to be extremely annoying to me and i cant know why. Hope to hear from you
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