But I get these random spasms usually in my arms or legs, and only when I'm sitting or laying down. I guess with all of the spotlight on former NFL/New Orleans Saints star Steven Gleason I've become so paranoid about ALS that it's driving my nerves up the wall and I always gravitate towards the worse possible scenario.
I'm a relatively healthy ( I have Seborrheic Dermatitis) 34 yr old male. The spasms are barely even noticeable and aren't consecutive and usually is not even in the same spot more than once. Of course my paranoia and fear has made me do a bunch of research on ALS. Other than the random spasms/twitches I haven't noticed any other symptoms of ALS but I'm one of those that the slightest hint of something that probably I didn't pay any attention to until here recently is now consuming my thoughts. I even performed a patellar reflex test on myself last night.
Does this "sound" normal and, even though I have not visited with a Dr. yet, something that I need to at least relax about unless something more severe becomes noticeable?
Well, you are not alone. Fasciculations, twitches, muscle spasms etc scare many. Most think it is due to ALS. However, usually muscle twitches and spasms are due to dehydration and electrolyte imbalance. So drink water, clear soups, fruit juices etc and see if you see any improvement.
Other than this, if you feel these symptoms only when you are not doing anything, then they are probably due to anxiety. Try deep breathing, walking, music and other relaxation techniques and see if it helps.
Muscle twitches and spasms due to ALS will be felt at all times. The only other possibility is that you have spinal radiculopathy (commonly called pinched nerves) that is more felt when you are sleeping or sitting in particular postures or lying down. Certain sleep disorders could also be the cause.
While no one can say for sure whether you have ALS or not for sure unless a few tests are done, usually with ALS there is some weakness of the limb in which twitches are felt. To confirm that a doctor has to find signs of both upper motor neuron weakness (muscle weakness, decreased motor control, inability to perform fine movements, increased spinal reflexes, and positive Babinski sign—great toe going up) and lower motor neuron weakness (muscle weakness, abnormal EMG etc) in at least one limb. Electromyography (EMG), nerve conduction velocity (NCV), muscle biopsy, etc are done to confirm diagnosis or rule out ALS.
Symptoms of many other diseases do mimic ALS. ALS like symptoms can be due to fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, severe anemia, spinal nerve compression high up in the cervical spine, ankylosing spondylitis, osteoarthritic changes of the vertebrae, calcium deficiency, low Vit D, electrolyte disturbance, multiple sclerosis, peripheral neuropathy due to diabetes or hypothyroidism or due to bad posture. Lyme and lupus are the other possibilities.
I would suggest you get the blood levels of the following checked if they have not already been checked: potassium, calcium, sodium, magnesium, vitamin B complex, or vitamins B1, B3, or B6 and Vitamin D. Generally deficiencies of any of the above can cause muscle twitching and spasms in localized or generalized areas of the body. Get your kidney function, parathyroid gland function and adrenal function tests done because these affect the electrolyte balance in the body.
Stress, alcohol, caffeine and fatigue all cause similar symptoms. Hence if you take alcohol or coffee then cut this down. Sleep at regular hours and see if it helps. You will also need blood test for diabetes, Lyme's, lupus and hypothyroidism.
If everything is ruled out then it can be benign fasciculation syndrome. A comprehensive investigation is required keeping all the points in mind. Please consult your doctor regarding this.
Thank you for your reply. I do, and have for years now, suffered from back (specifically lower back) pain on my left side. I do notice that when I'm occupied (i.e. driving or whatever) that I don't notice any spasms at all so I'm not sure how much of this is anxiety induced because they seem to get worse as I sit and think about it.
I'm not even sure how often they occurred before the media started talking about Steve Gleason's condition.
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