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Muscle Twitches/flu shot?
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Muscle Twitches/flu shot?

Good Morning:

I am a 41 year old female. About three weeks ago my eye lid started twitiching.  I have a history of really dry eyes and work for a Big five acctg. firm so I started using eye drops. This helped quite a bit. However, about three days ago I started noticing muscle twitches which started in my calf muscle, then in my thumb. Now it seems they are random fast twitches of no pattern. Of course my first thought was that I have something bad.  However, after stepping back and thinking about this I am wondering if my flu shot that I had about 12 days ago could have caused these.  I also have hypothyroidism and take Synthroid(21 yrs.)and am also asthmatic and use Flovent and Flonase. I had a normal physical in Sept. with blood work. My TSH was in the normal slightly high range but the dosage was not adjusted (.125)

I have noticed no weakness slight fatigue but nothing out of the norm (twins plus one and work full time).  I have to say like many of these posts I am very anxious that this might be something like ALS or MS. Of course now I am VERY aware of them and find myself tensing my muscles. I have read that these could be caused by numerous things, ie. caffeine, stress, anxiety as well as disease. Does this warrant a trip to a neurologist or my family Dr.? Does this sound like the very beginnings of ALS?



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Avatar_n_tn
I can understand your concern regarding your symptoms, but no they don't sound like the typical presenting symptoms of either MS or ALS.  The twitching may be what's called fasciculations, which is like brief little ripplings of your muscles and could be part of a syndrome called Benign fasciculation syndrome or BFS. You're right about the numerous things that can cause little twitches and in addition, some meds like steroids and thyroid dysfunction can also be part of the reason. It's possible that the flu shot could have triggered some of the symptoms although I have never personally seen this.

As you are having multiple twitches, I would talk to your family doc and get a basic exam as well as a TSH.  If they agree that there's twitching that they can't figure out, then a neurology consult would be warranted and then an EMG to look at the physiological nature of these twitches. Best of luck.
12 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
My wife has had similar symptoms after a flu shot last year. It has been a very frustrating experience for us. She has developed more serious symptoms over time which ended with visits to various emergency rooms. Invariably we are told that "maybe she's a little hysterical..." We did find a Chief of Neurology at a local teaching hospital who informed us that he does see similar reactions to flu shots every year, though it's actually a very low percentage compared to the numbers of people receiving the vaccine. He did tell us that most people recover within a year. Unfortunately my wife is not one of them. I could easily write a book on this subject with all of the information I have learned over the past year, so I will not bore you with all the details right now. My advice to you is to try and find a neurologist in your area who is familiar with postvaccinal neurological complications. Good luck, I hope you recover soon.
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Avatar_n_tn
I am new to this site but would like to share my comments about this. I, too, had a flu shot in October of 2000. In November of the same year, I developed numbness that started in my feet and progressed to my nipple line. I also had terrible stabbing pain in my back, chest and lower joints. After the wide array of tests(MRI,LP,EP's,bloodwork and more pins and vibrating forks than I can count), I was diagnosed with acute disseminated encephalomyelitis and transverse myelitis. I asked my neuro if this was from the shot and he replied "that could very well be what precipitated this". I had never had one before and never will again. It is now over a year later and I am still numb up to my waist and taking medication for pain. I had 2 courses of IV steroids and was on them orally for 1 month....that's unpleasant....hopefully no more of that. I had to change jobs after 10 years of nursing in the ICU (now at a desk job),but what's worse is that I am unable to do lots of things with my 5 year old(skating,bike riding,soccer,etc.). I would much rather have had the flu!!!!! Although this is a rare reaction and is caused by my immune system's response rather than the vaccine itself, the medical community should ensure that people are aware of this possibility.
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Avatar_n_tn
Since I last posted this in November I have had an EMG and blood work.  All absolutely normal. I think it is slowly improving. Better days than bad now and not as intense. However, I really pray it goes away totally.  I have had tetnus shots and other shots my whole life so I really wonder if the shot did cause this why now or if it is coincidental.  Just can't figure it out.
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Avatar_n_tn
I started experiencing numbness in my rt. leg which quickly moved on to both legs, feet, arms and hands about 3 weeks after my flu shot.  I feel like I have an electrican charge going thought me mot times and at night I have muscle twitches mostly in my legs.
This has gone on now about 7 weeks and I have just started to have a day here and there where I have a numb-free day,  but it still is pretty bad.  The numbness starts about 30 to 60 minutes after I get up in the morning and is with me all day. The other day it was different than it has ever been moving from first one limb then to another. My Husband started having numbness in his feet and legs about the same time I did.  We both got the flu shot on the same day.  Has anyone out there got this problem?  We have not been to the doctor yet.
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Avatar_n_tn
My husband and I have been experiencing numbness in our legs and feet starting around three weeks after our flu shot.  It has been going on now around 7 weeks.  I am noticing slight improvement but some days are horrible.  Legs (especially Rt. one) feels "heavy" and numb. arms and hands are in the act also but not near as often.  Husband says his feel like "dead stumps" - he is not as bad as I am.
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Avatar_n_tn
On October 30th my employer offered free influenza vaccinations to any/all employees that were interested. I had never had a flu shot before in my life, but figured that since I am getting older (41), and my husband had taken them with the Military for many years, that I would go ahead and take one, especially since they were free and I didn't have to miss work in order to take it.

Well, by November 15-20th my right arm started aching and burning and my last three fingers on my right hand were totally numb. I tried to deal with it, but by the 27th of November I just could not stand the pain any longer, so I called my doctors office and told them that my arm was hurting and my fingers were numb. They told me to go straight to the ER.

To make a long story short, I ended up going to a Neurologist, who diagnosed me as having "Brachial Neuritis" due to complications from the influenza vaccine that I had received in my right arm. He sent me to the hospital to have a chest X-ray done, and it was clear. He put me off work for at least 6 weeks and then he scheduled a EMG test on Jan 11th.

In the Neurologists' notes on the EMG & Nerve Conduction Study he stated:
R brachial neuritis.
R Ulnar conduction velocity was slowed.
R MACN latency was prolonged. R Ulnar terminal sensory latency was prolonged. R Ulnar F wave latency was prolonged.

Momopolar needle EMG examination showed chronic neurogenic changes in proximal as well as distal group muscles of RUE.

Interpretation: These findings are consistent with R brachial neuritis.

Recommend recommencement of Physical therapy, increasing Neurontin to 300mg tid, Naproxen tid 500mg, MRI of R brachial plexus. Patient remains TTD.

My MRI came back okay according to the Neurologists. He said that he just needed to "rule out" any other cause, including a tumor or other growth. Well, I am now off work for at least another 3 months.

I had never heard of this before, so I did some research on this illness/injury on the internet. I contacted the Nat'l Vaccine Injury Commission, the CDC, VAERS, and finally was told maybe I should contact a Social Service Orginization or an Attorney. When I inquired with my employer, she stated that "You signed the form stating that you were aware of possible risks". The ONLY thing that was stated to me was "Are you alergic (allergic) to eggs, and do you have a fever". I need to know what is going on and get better.

I had a bad sinus headache about a week prior to the vaccination, went to doctor and he did both CBC & ANA blood tests, which came back fine. He gave me two injections just as a precautionary measure - Depo-Medrol and Rocephin. Could these two injections, plus the influenza vaccine have cause this?

I did agree to take the vaccination, but NEVER thought I'd end up with anything like this!!! It seems to me that someone needs to stand up and be responsible for the lack of properly warning people about the very serious possible adverse reactions that people can suffer from these and many other vacciniations. I have done alot of research since my diagnosis and will include the link for anyone that is interested. Please! Check it out and be informed BEFORE you or a loved one takes a chance on any vaccinations, children and adults alike.

I can promise you that I will NEVER ever take another flu shot!!!


Thank You,
blueangl

***@****
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Avatar_n_tn
I had to respond to this as I am having a similiar experience. I got the flu shot in Nov 2001.  At this time I was having joint pain in every joint but decided to get it anyway since I wasn't allergic to eggs or had a fever.  I did not want the flu with two young kids to take care of.  About four weeks later I developed tingling in my right foot that quickly spread to both feet.  The tingling is so strong I call it "vibrations" because it is much more pronounced than tingling.  Since then it has started to migrate to different areas of my body like my hands, head, abdomen. It basically moves around the body at various times. About three weeks after this appeared I started getting these muscle twitches that move around as well.  It feels like someone is poking me but is not.  IT is much worse at night.  I have had the joint pain come and go. Fatigue comes and goes.  I am no longer sleeping soundly and wake at least twice a night with a pounding heart. I began seeing a floater in my right eye.  Keep in mind I have had very few health problems until now.  I am thirty-two, female.   I have also had nausea, swollen glands, pelvic pain, chest pain, mood swings ect that all come and go.  Over the past two days I noticed the tingling diminishing but it was back in full force yesterday night.  I have had countless blood work done.  All normal except an ANA of 1:160 which was tested the same day I got the flu shot.  Since then it has dropped to 1:80 which is borderline.  I have been to a neuro who did an MRI of the brain and spine and an EMG - ALL NORMAL.  I did not get any of these symptoms until I had the flu shot.  I wish I had not gotten it now.  My neuro mentioned he thought the flu shot could have done this and has given me three months to see if the symptoms go away.  I pray they do.  I have been tested for lyme (some people have it in my neighborhood)  but both the ELISA and western blot came back negative. I do not know what to think because I am very aware of the controversy of the test results.  Not everyone tests positive and can still have it.  Has anyone had these symptoms and made a full recovery from them?  Does anyone know what this could be?  I am leaning toward the flu shot.  MS had been ruled out. I have had the flu shot for the past five years and will never get it again. I can only hope my body can recover.  It is hard to stay calm when you do not understand or know what it happening to you!
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Avatar_n_tn
YOU DON'T KNOW HOW I FELT WHEN I READ THIS ON MY COMPUTER. ALMOST A YEAR AND A HALF AGO (NOVEMBER) MY THUMB STARTED TWITCHING.THEN IT WENT TO MY LEGS AND THEN LITTLE TWITCHES EVERYWHERE.  I ALSO HAD A FLU SHOT A FEW WEEKS BEFORE.  I ALMOST WENT CRAZY WORRYING ABOUT IT.  MY DR. SAID I WAS SUFFERING FROM DEPRESSION AND ANZIETY.  I DON'T KNOW WHICH CAME FIRST, THE DEPRESSION OR THE TWITCHES.  ANYWAY AFTER 2 MONTHS ON PROZAC I FELT BETTER BUT SOMETIMES I STILL GET TO THINKING ABOUT IT AND I GET PARANOID.  MY DR. SAID NOT TO WORRY. I HAD ALSO BEEN HIT FROM BEHIND IN A CAR ACCIDENT THAT MONTH MY TWITCHES STARTED. I WAS SEEING A CHIROPRACTOR.  THE TWITCHES STARTED BEFORE HE ADJUSTED ME.  HE DID SOME LITTLE "TESTS" LIKE TESTING MY STRENGTH, BALANCE AND COORDINATION, AND RUBBED A PENCIL UP MY FOOT (DONT ASK ME WHY) ANYWAY HE SAID NEUROLOGICALLY I LOOKED OK.
I ONLY WISH I COULD GO BACK TO THE OLD ME BEFORE THESE TWITCHES.  I WISH I COULD GO TO BED AND MY LEGS BE QUIET.  I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO BUT LIVE WITH IT.  I JUST WISH I COULD QUIT WORRYING ABOUT IT. GOD BLESS YOU ALL!
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Avatar_n_tn
YOU DON'T KNOW HOW I FELT WHEN I READ THIS ON MY COMPUTER. ALMOST A YEAR AND A HALF AGO (NOVEMBER) MY THUMB STARTED TWITCHING.THEN IT WENT TO MY LEGS AND THEN LITTLE TWITCHES EVERYWHERE.  I ALSO HAD A FLU SHOT A FEW WEEKS BEFORE.  I ALMOST WENT CRAZY WORRYING ABOUT IT.  MY DR. SAID I WAS SUFFERING FROM DEPRESSION AND ANZIETY.  I DON'T KNOW WHICH CAME FIRST, THE DEPRESSION OR THE TWITCHES.  ANYWAY AFTER 2 MONTHS ON PROZAC I FELT BETTER BUT SOMETIMES I STILL GET TO THINKING ABOUT IT AND I GET PARANOID.  MY DR. SAID NOT TO WORRY. I HAD ALSO BEEN HIT FROM BEHIND IN A CAR ACCIDENT THAT MONTH MY TWITCHES STARTED. I WAS SEEING A CHIROPRACTOR.  THE TWITCHES STARTED BEFORE HE ADJUSTED ME.  HE DID SOME LITTLE "TESTS" LIKE TESTING MY STRENGTH, BALANCE AND COORDINATION, AND RUBBED A PENCIL UP MY FOOT (DONT ASK ME WHY) ANYWAY HE SAID NEUROLOGICALLY I LOOKED OK.
I ONLY WISH I COULD GO BACK TO THE OLD ME BEFORE THESE TWITCHES.  I WISH I COULD GO TO BED AND MY LEGS BE QUIET.  I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO BUT LIVE WITH IT.  I JUST WISH I COULD QUIT WORRYING ABOUT IT. GOD BLESS YOU ALL!
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Avatar_n_tn
YOU DON'T KNOW HOW I FELT WHEN I READ THIS ON MY COMPUTER. ALMOST A YEAR AND A HALF AGO (NOVEMBER) MY THUMB STARTED TWITCHING.THEN IT WENT TO MY LEGS AND THEN LITTLE TWITCHES EVERYWHERE.  I ALSO HAD A FLU SHOT A FEW WEEKS BEFORE.  I ALMOST WENT CRAZY WORRYING ABOUT IT.  MY DR. SAID I WAS SUFFERING FROM DEPRESSION AND ANZIETY.  I DON'T KNOW WHICH CAME FIRST, THE DEPRESSION OR THE TWITCHES.  ANYWAY AFTER 2 MONTHS ON PROZAC I FELT BETTER BUT SOMETIMES I STILL GET TO THINKING ABOUT IT AND I GET PARANOID.  MY DR. SAID NOT TO WORRY. I HAD ALSO BEEN HIT FROM BEHIND IN A CAR ACCIDENT THAT MONTH MY TWITCHES STARTED. I WAS SEEING A CHIROPRACTOR.  THE TWITCHES STARTED BEFORE HE ADJUSTED ME.  HE DID SOME LITTLE "TESTS" LIKE TESTING MY STRENGTH, BALANCE AND COORDINATION, AND RUBBED A PENCIL UP MY FOOT (DONT ASK ME WHY) ANYWAY HE SAID NEUROLOGICALLY I LOOKED OK.
I ONLY WISH I COULD GO BACK TO THE OLD ME BEFORE THESE TWITCHES.  I WISH I COULD GO TO BED AND MY LEGS BE QUIET.  I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO BUT LIVE WITH IT.  I JUST WISH I COULD QUIT WORRYING ABOUT IT. GOD BLESS YOU ALL!
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Avatar_n_tn
My husband, daughter and I were recommended by our family physician to have a flu shot this year.  My family doesn't do shots of any kind unless it is absolutely necessary because when my daughter was 6 months old, she had the normal baby DPT shot.  She's now 19 years old, has multiple seizures and is intellectually at about a 4 to 5 year old level.  So needless to say, I strongly dislike shots of any kind.  I'm really sorry to hear the problems you've all been having as a result of the flu shot.  On the other hand, it confirms my thoughts on shots altogether.  I wish I had answers to help you.  Good luck!
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