Question on "stress effects"

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Question on "stress effects"

Postby RexM on March 16th, 2004, 12:17 pm

I'm fairly new here, and while my quite young neuro has ruled out ALS, she seems somewhat skeptical of the BFS syndrome. I have read on here in Aaron's "nutshell" article [which has been a God send], that stress and anxiety can really accelerate the symptoms. However, I guess I am looking for some additional testimonies along those lines.

I'm currently under a great deal of stress, associated with two aged parents, one of whom recently had a stroke and is partly incapacitated, temporarily living with me and my wife. Since I haven't yet fully dealt with the BFS symptoms, largely because of my Doctor seeming somewhat skeptical, I remain under a lot of stress on that count, too. The result is that I can feel the muscles in my neck and shoulders are tight as a drum, and the twitches have exploded to every part of my body, along with transient numbness and tingling in my extremeties. Last night while having dinner with the whole family, I felt like my face was doing the tango, and I had twitches in almost every part of my body. However, when I excused myself, I couldn't see anything in the mirror. I'm hoping that it is the stress factor which has caused this and not some other horrible disease like a tumor or other brain disease. This morning after a nights sleep [with sedative], I am still having the "normal twitches in my calves and feet, and occasional random twitches elsewhere, but can almost feel it building up.

Any similar experiences would be helpful.
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Postby thetwitchkid on March 16th, 2004, 2:45 pm


Hi. Sorry to hear of your troubles. Stress is strongly believed by many of us BFS'ers to cause/worsen the symptoms. My neuro, a gruff veteran of 40 years, was "unimpressed" with my symptoms too. He felt they were benign and a result of stress (i.e. Pregnant wife, 2nd child, single income, etc.) I had to press to get the Brain MRI, EMG and NCS tests. These diagnostic exams were performed by a seperate board certified neuro. Despite the clean diagnostics and exams, I still struggle with BFS and its worries. Well, its been over a year and I'm still here and still twitching!!!
I hope this helps !!1
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Postby garym on March 16th, 2004, 5:52 pm


My neuro told me that he doesn't believe stress causes BFS, but he does believe it aggravates the symptoms. One good thing to think about is that if your symptoms get worse when you're stressed, it almost surely isn't something more serious. Dying nerves don't care about emotional stress.

On the other hand, i can completely relate to the way you feel. My problems started in june, and i have a 19 mth old baby, own a business that sucks in this business climate and have been stressed to unbelievable measures. I think it has to be related, if not the cause, but my neuro says no. He is a nerve and muscle disorder specialist, so i guess i should believe him. I would suggest that you really concentrate on getting good sleep (not just one night). That can really help conteract some of the problems you are experiencing, in my experience when i don't sleep well, I still twitch the same, but really feel terrible otherwise. Before this started, I could make it on 4 hours a night with no problem.

Finally, have you taken any antibiotics in the last few months? I feel i have to ask that of ever new member, because there is a class of drugs that cause many of the same problems we experience.

Hope this helps,
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Postby BTS on March 16th, 2004, 6:33 pm

Hi RexM,

I too am like you and find that stress GREATLY exacerbates my symptoms...we're all wired a little differently, so I think this occurs with some more than others.

For the record, I just got back from a follow-up today with my family physician, and although he has heard of BFS, he doesn't know a lot about it. He also stated quite clearly though that stress/anxiety, in and of itself, can cause muscle twitches, cramps, you name it. I really like him too, as he has worked with ALS patients in the past, and listen to this carefully, not ONE of them ever presented with twitching, it was always something far more obvious (extreme weakness, difficulty speaking, etc.) He also said that a routine physical exam can almost ALWAYS rule it out, as someone who has the disease has a myriad of problems easy to spot by a good physican.

Take heart in all the experience on this board, I have (I'm a newbie), and it is wonderful. Lots of knowledgable folks, who know what your feeling like.

Be steady, and don't worry as much, it helps! Trust me, I know from experience :)

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Postby karen_marietta on March 16th, 2004, 7:10 pm

Hi Rex,

I am sorry you are experiencing so many stressful situations right now. Gosh, having a parent who has had a stroke is very stressful. I know too, as my father had many...although he lived with my mom, not with me.

Stress can invoke so many symptoms in us. I remember when I was 17...I was a bank teller in Montreal, Canada...I could not speak French to save my life, but all of my customers were French. One day, a person who had schizophrenia came to my wicket. He took a withdrawl form and started to fill it out. About 5 minutes later, he was still completing his signature...a very weird signature that looked more like a graph of some sort. Anyway, after I served him, my top lip started to form a sneer...Elvis would have been proud of me! I could not control that movement in my upper lip. I had to serve about a hundred more customers, and finally, at the end of the day, it abated. But, gosh, during the entire day, my upper lip would not stop curling. To say I was freaked out as a teenager would be an understatement.

Yes, stress can definitely cause symptoms in our nervous systems...our brains and spinal cords. It can manifest in many different ways.

Hugs and prayers to you!
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Postby Lyneve on March 20th, 2004, 3:08 pm

Hi Rex,

In my experience, stress definitely worsens symptoms. It's a pain that when we're already dealing with a stressful life situation BFS symptoms act up and, for many, these new symptoms have the effect of piling on even more stress! My best advice is try not to dwell on the manifestations of BFS - it's a waste of time and energy and you're inviting a vicious cycle. I'm sorry about your father's stroke. Hope all will turn out well.
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