Sep 19, 2008
I am 39, will be 40 in a few months. My main concern was that I either had Lyme disease or MS. Both have very similar symptoms. It turns out that I was diagnosed as having BCFS, or Benign Cramp Fasciculation Syndrome. I wish MedHelp would add BCFS as a category, since it is kind of hard to find out a whole lot about it on the internet. Here are a few links that I have found useful about it:
I saw a neurologist in August. The neurologist performed an EMG, EEG, and an MRI. The EMG measures the electronic signals that are traveling through the nerves after being stimulated by a small electric shock (it's pretty painless). when the muscle is shocked, it should send an electrical signal, then electrical activity should go silent. If the EMG equipment sees ongoing signals afterwards, then that can signify neurological issues. I am not a doctor, so keep in mind that I am just interpreting what I have been told. If you want all the specifics, then your neurologist can give you a more detailed or thorough explanation than what I know. However, if memory serves me correctly, that is the purpose of getting an EMG done.
The neurologist also performed an EEG (everything was done at the office, except the MRI, in case you are worried about how much all this will cost you...). The EEG measures electrical activity of the brain, both at rest and under stimulation. What they did during my procedure was put this cap on your head lined with sensors in a dark room and have you close your eyes. They read the activity for about 5 minutes or so then, they switch to the stimulation part of the testing. There were two parts, nothing too terrible. The first part is where they had me breathe at a rapid panting pace for about 5 minutes. Basically what that does is hyperventilate you. That was the hardest part of the whole test, because you body by nature wants to stop doing that. Then they have you stop once you reach their time goal. They read that activity. The last part is where they put a strobe light in front of your face with your eyes closed and they go through various sets of strobe light flashing activity. It starts of slow, then progresses to super high flashing. It doesn't hurt your eyes, the only thing that is intensifying is the amount of flashes per second, not the brightness of the flash.
I also had an MRI done at a separate independant imaging facility. They did the MRI with contrast. I read later that the contrast agent can cause kidney issue in a very small percentage of people; although no one told me that beforehand. However I haven't had any issues come up, so I am good I guess. The MRI with contrast is supposedly the better one to do than "without contrast" to detect lesions. One thing I did read though, was that just because they don't see any lesions doesn't 100% rule out MS, especially if you or I are just developing it.
My symptoms: I had/have fatigue, exercise intolerance, muscle spasms daily, and muscle cramps that would wake me up in the middle of the night in random places. These cramps were similar to getting a charley horse, but in my neck, bicep, traps, or hip/thigh. That muscle would be sore or "pulled" feeling all the next day. I also was having arthritic symptoms in both hands, feet joints, and knees. They tested me for gout and Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) but both tests came up negative.
Since I was diagnosed with BCFS, my neurologist prescribed me Clonazepam to take at bedtime (one .5mg tablet), which has not gotten rid of the muscle spasms 100%, however it knocks me out so I have been getting restful sleep which has helped me quite a bit overall. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clonazepam) Also, the negative side of taking this medicine, which I wasn't aware of before I started taking it: (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benzodiazepine_withdrawal_syndrome)