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Can anxiety cause abnormal reflexes?
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Can anxiety cause abnormal reflexes?

I just found out my reflexes were abnormal at my neurological exam.  I think they were hyper reflexive or whatever.  They want to treat me for anxiety before they look at anything else.  Could anxiety cause this?
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi, I'm not dx and don't have an answer for you about the reflexes, but wanted to jump in an say "hi" anyway.

I have heard of others here who when having their reflexes checked, that they were hyper reflexes.  As far as anxiety causing it, I wouldn't think it would, but can't say for sure.  I don't know for sure if there is anything in the Health pages on this or not, have you checked?

I'm sure someone who knows much more than me will have a better answer for you.

doni
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Avatar_f_tn
Thanks, I really appreciate any input.  I'm having a really bad day, had a really bad dr.'s appointment so I'm crying on this forums shoulders.
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293157_tn?1285877039
sorry your having such a bad day...and bad Dr appt...that doesn't help at all.

as for reflexes... I really don't know for sure...but don't they just happen...I ddn't think that someone could make they any different then they are... when the Dr taps your knee and you leg moves... It does that by itself?  

sorry, I can't get things out properly today...my mind isn't quite working right ..  
but I don't think anxiety can make changes...but I have heard that your reflexes can change from different visits?  So...that is the question..

sorry, I don't understand myself...
wobbly
undx
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi there,
I asked my neuro if anxiety could be causing my abnormal reflexes etc. and my answer was that it can worsen symptoms (but I don't think it can cause them), so if you are stressed and anxious it will worsen or heighten your symptoms, well at least that was my understanding but I might be wrong but then I am still not sure if it would heighten your abnormal reflexes but I would think so.

I might be wrong on all this though.




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Avatar_f_tn
Wobbly, I think you are right, reflexes happen and you don't have control of them.  The only time I feel anxious is when I'm in a dr's office so I'm sure I was anxious but don't believe I have anxiety (and my husband agrees).  But that's what I'm getting treated for so whatever.

Udkas - I agree with you as well that anxiety makes everything worse.  They said there's a slight chance I have a nerve disease but they want to treat me for anxiety for now instead of doing anymore testing, they talked about an emg.  I'm really, really, really, really frustrated.  I cried after my appointment.  I feel alright now, and can think a little more clearly and openly about things.  If it is anxiety that would be great because it's treatable, so I'll try their treatments and go from there I guess.  She said if it is a nerve disease nothing is going to get worse by waiting.  I hate going to the doctor.  I really do like my doctor, just don't like going to see her.
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338416_tn?1260996698
She's right about nothing getting worse by waiting, but misdiagnosing you with anxiety is harming, rather than helping, the patient.

I assume you've already been through the gamut of tests - MRI, lumbar puncture, etc.
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Avatar_f_tn
I've had lots of blood tests and cat scans because of some swollen lymph nodes.  No mri's.  The neuro did say we could do an emg but he thought it would be normal.  I did have the full round of testing including mri's 10 years ago at mayo but it was all normal.

Last night when I got up to get a drink of water after I'd been asleep for awhile and was very groggy my arm seemed to freeze up and get extremely heavy and I felt like I couldn't move it and I slammed the cup down and I fell.  I was so out of it because I'd taken a tylenol pm that I am very foggy on what happened.  I do know I fell but not sure why.  Doctors take on that was anxiety.  It scared me when it happened, that's all I know or can really remember.

So there's a slight chance I have a nerve disease.  Just a very slight chance so they want to treat the anxiety (that I don't have except when I'm sitting in the doctor's office) first and see what happens.  
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338416_tn?1260996698
Yeah, costing you more money, and wasting time - at least that's what it sounds like to me!  But without other clinical signs of a nerve disease, such as paresthesia or vertigo, then it's just a waiting game.  Good luck!
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Avatar_f_tn
That's just it, I don't know what to think because my legs started vibrating about a month ago and now it goes from the bottom of my feet to my knees and sometimes on my thigh.  I thought the floor was vibrating before I realized it was my legs.  It's been nonstop for about a week now and gets worse when I'm tired.  So I don't know if they think I'm making it up or what.  Two of my toes go numb, too.  But it seems like the more I tell my doctor the more they think anxiety.  I also have a lot of stiffness in my legs, especially my calves, and if I'm really active during the day I'm usually feel stiff at night.
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147426_tn?1317269232
BTW I have always loved your name!

Yes, anxiety can make normal reflexes hyperactive.  Pain and excitement can do the same.  Any of the emotions that run off of adrenaline will cause the reflexes to be more brisk.  Even muscle tension will do it.  Flexing any group of muscles strongly will cause the refl;exes in another part of the body to be more brisk.

How do you feel about the suggestion to treat for anxiety.

Your symptoms don't sound like they are the product of anxiety, but whatever the cause anxiety heightens our perception of all sensations, even paresthesias.  If the doctors are just dismissing the symptoms as caused by anxiety - and you know that you are not basically an anxious person, then you may need to look elsewhere for medical care and start the new relationship with a discussion of the "anxiety question."

Treating anxiety - no matter what the cause - is often a good idea.  Once it is under control, the docs may be better able to evaluate what is left.  

It is my experience that people with anxiety disorders or who are extremely anxious, know this about themselves and freely admit it.  The problem, though, may arise when a doctor ( a lazy doctor) dismisses all symptoms as due to the anxiety.  The same thing may happen with depression or a history of depression.  Anvious and depressed people can also have other neurologic diseases.

Quix
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi Quix,
You are such a wealth of information.  How do the doctors then differentiate between symptoms being caused by anxiety or a nervous system disease?  Are there differences between the paresthesias caused by anxiety?   As you know I am undxn and trying to work it out, I'm not normally anxious but at the moment I am very anxious, I can feel my heart jumping...skipping and I know it's the waiting for my results.  

So I am now thinking maybe everything is just some anxiety thing...

My Dr said I had radicular pain (whatever that means).
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Avatar_f_tn
Thanks for your comments, and for liking my name. :)

I don't feel like my doctor is blowing me off.  She feels there's a slight chance of nerve disease but wants to treat the anxiety first and see what happens.  Supposed to go back in 2 weeks.  I feel ok about it now, I was kind of mad at first, but I get over things pretty fast.  I haven't had any problems with anxiety for many years, but there was a time in my past where I dealt with it.  I'm on Effexor and not much seems to bother me compared to how I was in the past.  However, I am anxious sitting in a doctors office, so I'm sure they are seeing that so it's logical for them to want to treat me for it.

I'll be a good patient and do as I'm told.  It can't hurt, and I believe everyone can use some counseling at one time or another and there is no shame in it.  It will only make me even more wonderful (tee hee).
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Avatar_f_tn
Quix.............Thank you for that explanation.  

Now I know why I get tremors when I get over anxious.  Not too long ago I made the mistake of going to the grocery on Sat.  It was very crowded and before I got half way through, I started with the tremors and head bobbing.  Legs didn't want to work either.  Thank goodness hubby was with me.

Sandpuff.......good luck with your treatment and if it helps even a little it will be worth it.

doni
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338416_tn?1260996698
Stress and anxiety can bring out symptoms, that's for sure.  My twitches get worse, and my head bobs.  

Sandpuff, I'm glad that you're cool with the anxiety treatment, but your buzzing sensations don't sound like anxiety.
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