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What are body jerks called??

PostPosted: July 29th, 2003, 6:59 am
by uber
Sometimes when im sitting ill notice my legs jerk or sometimes its my upper body, like my whole body will just jerk to one side. Its not like a twitch its something else...wondering what it is??? Also at times I get another strange thing with it, like imagine if you were sitting and somebody just gently stabbed your foot with a pin, it would make your foot and leg jerk right?? like as if you got a shock?? I also get that, it happens totally randomly, just wondering if it has a name and a cause??

PostPosted: July 29th, 2003, 7:33 am
by Pole
I don't know a name for it but I think I have the same sensations. Only when I am sitting I feel something like electric shock in my thight or upper body and my leg or arm jumps a little. It's like a jab inside muscle. I am sure that is something else than twich.

It happens not very offen (maybe once a day). I am also interested if it has a medical name.


shock like symptom...

PostPosted: July 29th, 2003, 11:06 am
by Renae
I have also experienced this "electric shock" like feeling. It happens fairly infrequently, but when it freaks me out! I would be interested in knowing if there is an actual name for this symptom. I'm sure somebody on here knows!!

PostPosted: July 29th, 2003, 12:26 pm
by tlotoxl
they're called myoclonic jolts, no? i get them a fair bit, though the frequency comes and goes. one day i'll have several (or even more than 10) and then i won't have any for a week or two.

what i wonder about with myoclonic jolts is whether that sensation of an electric shock that precedes the jerk really exists or not; do our limbs move because of that shock we feel, or do we perceive the shock because our brain is trying to explain to the conscious mind some reason for why the muscle did what it just did? probably the former, but you never know... the brain is a crafty bugger.

PostPosted: July 31st, 2003, 3:28 am
by Pole
I also thought about myoclonic jolts, but when I have from time to time myoclonic jolts while falling asleep (even before all this BFS nightmare) there was no electric shock feeling. Just a jolt.

So I ma not sure if that really are myoclonic jolts.


PostPosted: July 31st, 2003, 4:00 am
by tlotoxl
i'm pretty sure they're the same thing. for me, the 'electric' sensation is more frequent when i'm awake, but i sometimes get it when i'm falling asleep too.

PostPosted: July 31st, 2003, 4:10 am
by Pole
I hope these are myoclonic jolts because as I know they are not an ALS symptom and they may be caused by stress and anxiety.
I was afraid that they may be muscle spasms (often seen in ALS) but spasms look quite diffrent, am I right?

PostPosted: July 31st, 2003, 4:22 am
by tlotoxl
i don't know about spasms. i sometimes get clusters of myclonic jolts which i would consider to look like spasms, but given all the definite myclonic jolts i have and the fact that you can have more than one jolt, i assume they're all just the same thing -- or at least that they're related. i wouldn't worry about the spasm/ALS thing.

PostPosted: July 31st, 2003, 7:14 am
by Jenn311
My nuero told me yesterday that if one little muscle strand contracts, it's called a fasiculation. If a group of muscles contract it's called a myoclonus. They have about as much significance as a fasic.


PostPosted: August 1st, 2003, 7:34 am
by GrymReeper
As you know, in doctor speak, "myo" is muscle. "clonus" is, by definition, repetitive contractions. The posts above do sound like myoclonic jolts, which are very normal. The ones at night are particularly common. Nocturnal myoclonis jolts. Those of you who have kids or even dogs have probably watched them go to sleep and seen the jolts. Scary the first time you see them. I have them at times, wondered if they were related to the syndrome, then remembered I've ALWAYS had them. I think we all, from time to time, tend to blame almost any perceived abnormality or oddity of our body on BFS or whatever strange, but likely bening, condition we have.

I have no idea about the electric shock sensation. I do know that at about the two year mark for me, I could make myself have the shock sensation by pressing my thigh in certain areas. I discovered it accidentally by crossing my legs or something like that. The sensation disappeared and I never gave it any thought really.

PostPosted: August 1st, 2003, 7:47 am
by Pole
The elctric shocks in my case resemble these shocks during non-needle part of EMG. If you had EMG you have to remember this shocks (I guess it's nerve conduction study).

Of course what I feel now is not so strong, let's say 10% of those during EMG.


PostPosted: August 1st, 2003, 8:00 am
by Jenn311
Those shocks sound more like a compressed nerve. Maybe even in your spine, maybe peripherally. Do you have them all over or only in one part of your body? I would get it checked out, maybe get them to do an MRI? It's up to you of course...but that may be what is causing you to twitch also.

Jen :D

PostPosted: August 1st, 2003, 8:07 am
by Pole
These shocks apear in thights and arms. But they are quite rare (once a day or even two days)

I was thinking about MRI, but after 2 months of neverending medical visits and because I can't see real symptoms' progression so far, I decided to take a break.


PostPosted: August 1st, 2003, 9:36 am
by Enoch

The stabbing pain sensations are quite commonly associated with
Peripheral Neuropathy. The jerks and jolts associated with falling
asleep are called "Sleep Starts".

Hope this helps!


PostPosted: August 1st, 2003, 12:43 pm
by Enoch

Ref URL: ... nnyon.html

Falling-Asleep Twitches

By Hannah Holmes

You are sinking into your pillow, the first flickers of dreamlike peculiarities playing across the inside of your eyelids. Then, finding yourself sliding down a hill or falling in a hole, you thrash so suddenly you wake up. As does your sweetheart, whom you've kicked out of bed.

"Myoclonic jerk," said the first sleep researcher I reached on the phone.

"I beg your pardon!"

"Not you," he said. "That twitch."

But when I told him it only happens once, as I'm falling asleep, he changed his tune.

"Oh, that's just a hypnic jerk." He gave me the name of another researcher. As jerks go, hypnic ones aren't annoying enough to get much attention. The second researcher gave me the name of a third researcher. The third researcher, Dr. Mark Mahowald, director of a sleep disorder center in Minneapolis, wasn't exactly fascinated with the subject, either.

"As far as I know, we don't have a clue why that happens," he said casually. "I don't think we could come up with two reasons."

There are, of course, theories, since theories rush in where angels fear to tread.
One is that hypnic jerks are a natural step in the body's transition from alertness to sleep. As you drift off, your body goes through some physiological changes to prepare for a few hours of restoration. Your breathing rate changes. Your temperature may change. And your muscle tone changes, too. Hypnic jerks, the theory goes, may just be a byproduct of that muscular transition.
I like the second theory better, since it's more specific than the first: This theory says that, as you slide toward sleep, there's a point at which your muscles really let go. Your brain, which after all did evolve from a reptile brain, interprets this rush of relaxation data as a sure sign that you're falling down. And it tells your arms and legs to thrash around and keep you upright -- which, of course, you're not. So your misguided body slugs your sweetheart in the solar plexus.

This explanation dovetails with the mental experience that accompanies many people's hypnic jerks -- the thrash is often accompanied by quick little dreams of falling. They're not exactly dreams, says Mahowald, although scholars are increasingly questioning the definition of dreaming.

The traditional view is that true dreams only visit during REM (rapid eye-movement) sleep, later in the night. But a dopey, dozing-off brain gets its chuckles in the form of modest hallucinations or reveries. These pastimes are more closely related to daydreams than REM dreams. Anyway, Mahowald says about half the people in any given audience to which he speaks admit to the occasional hypnic jerks, and a dream of falling is a frequent companion to the twitch.

There are also more exotic, and more rare, versions of the sleepy-time surprise.
One is called an "auditory sleep start." Here, instead of waking with a twitch, you wake to a very loud snap or cracking sound that seems to originate in the center of your own head. Sounds very unpleasant. Another, a "visual sleep start," replaces the crack with a blinding flash of light, also coming from inside your noggin or your eyes. A final variation returns you to full consciousness with a "flowing sensation" that oozes over your skin. All the sleep starts may be accompanied by a grunt, as you exhale through sleepy vocal chords.
But what -- or who -- is a myoclonic jerk? The term, I discovered, is outdated. Now this disorder is known as Periodic Limb Movement, which isn't nearly as colorful nor as fun to say.

The disorder itself is like hypnic jerking gone loco. As the myoclonic jerker sleeps, his legs jump and twitch at terrifically precise intervals -- every 30 seconds, for instance.

"It's like some sort of metronome," Mahowald says. "You can extrapolate five minutes out, and you'll be right on." The twitching may last two hours, then fade away. Although the jerker tends to sleep right through all the fun, the "bed partner" may not. And so researchers pay more attention to this disorder.

Hypnic jerks, on the other hand, are "of no medical significance," according to Mahowald. "It's completely normal. You see people falling asleep on a bus or at an airport, and they'll often wake up with a little start. You see it not uncommonly in college libraries."

Those students. What a bunch of jerks.