question: twitch vs. tremor?

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question: twitch vs. tremor?

Postby tatsu15 on May 21st, 2009, 7:18 pm

What isthe main difference? I know my symptoms are on and off and I have good and bad days but I'm really worried about Parkinson's now... and I just read and article about brian grant a former nba players who was diagnosed with it and he said it started with a TWITCH in his hand and that's the same as michael j. fox and it took about a year and a half to get him dx... and I have hand twitches but not tremors so I just wanted to know the difference.

Also does anyone know anything about PD?
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Re: question: twitch vs. tremor?

Postby simon_w on May 21st, 2009, 7:27 pm

The word 'twitch', when used by non-medical folk, can mean different things. The 'twitch' you refer to in PD is in fact a tremor, not a muscle twitch (which is called a fasciculation). One should be easy to distinguish from the other and if I remember your background history from previous posts then I am almost certain that you have fasciculations not tremor.
The tremor of PD is usually first noticed as a 'pill rolling tremor' betwen index finger and thumb.

As an aside, and just to complicate things a little, I have seen that BFS sufferers on this site have mentioned that they too have tremor but this is NOT due to PD but is presumably just a manifestation of their BFS. The tremor BFS sufferers seem to describe is more that sort of tremor you get when you are holding a muscle in one position for too long and it starts to wobble.

So even if you happen to have tremor as well as fasciculation, then you shouldn't be thinking about PD. If in doubt, get your doc to check you - most of us are used to looking for evidence of PD when we examine people.

All the best
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Re: question: twitch vs. tremor?

Postby fox2run on May 22nd, 2009, 5:05 am

A lot of us noticed bfs for the first time, when our index-finger started to move from side to side. Read Arrons "BFS-in a nutshell-article". After 6 month my index finger stopped moving (without my permission) however, but then my feets went bananas and then my calves and my arms and my tongue and my... and my... After 2 years im still able to lift my kids using my index-finger alone. And those kids are being bigger and bigger as time progresses. Have no worries. Use your time better. Just an advice I didnt follow myself... :lol:
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Re: question: twitch vs. tremor?

Postby mcurfman on May 23rd, 2009, 9:48 am

I have many of the same questions about tremors and twitching. The problem is that both are normal to a degree and they look similar to non medical folks. In truth, the journey for exploring these questions starts at the primary care doctor, which may very little about MND(s), especially, the initial presentation. A neuro doc on the other hand has seen ALS and Parkinsons enoungh times to spot it walking through the door. What I'm saying is that you might not get an answer on the internet that will give you comfort; you will need to see the Neuro.

For what's it's worth, I will say that I find it hard to believe that the only symptom you would have even in the early stages of Parkinsons would the pin rolling. Even calling it pin rolling might vague to someone that never saw. I work in nursing home and I see the disease daily and have the misfortune of seeing it progress. When I started to twitch my first thought was oh, *beep* I'm going to get Parkinsons or ALS. The pin rolling looks more like a fine-rough tremor that is constant unti they start moving the arm. WHen it progresses it seems to keep twitching even after they move there arm. The big thing it that there are mental changes with it because the twitching is caused by a disruption in normal brain chemistry. They seem to answer more slowly, move slowly, seem confused only simple issues, stare off into space and so on. And bear in mind these are younger people 50-60's with other problems so the onset of parkinsons is not confused with just being older.

A postural tremor is one you see holding your fingers or hand against gravity. It is the most common tremor you see with stress, anxiety, and excess caffeine. I get it and it bothers me. If you get a tremor while reaching for something or manipulating a small item it might be intention tremor, but again, tremors from anxiety might be very similar. In nursing school there was this one guy who would have the worst hand shakes you can imagine right before every test that seemed to go away afterwards. Having simialr problems we talked and he told me his hands shake a litle all the time. He held his fingers out and you could see a minor shake, but when his fingers were relaxed, you saw nothing.

If you are laying your hand on you lap and are seeing or feeling tremors, that might a reson for concern if they are constant while awake and seem to be getting progressively worse. If you are feeling little bursts that cause a fluttering feeling that is fasics and everyone on this site has them, some worse than others. Tremors seem to be a part of the disease. Many on this site are checking their hands while eating or doing the pencil test to see if it shakes in differnt positions. The stress of thinking you might have a MND disease makes you have the tremors. Having the tremors, makes you think it is getting worse or progressing into something else whch adds to the stress and feeds the tremors...its a vicious cycle...

No one really knows what BFS is. Is it a mental health disorder? Is it a mild non progressive from of MND, the motor juntion, the muslce itself? Non one is sure. Ativan seems to help more than anything, which makes me think it is a disease process of stress. Just like some immune systems fail and lend itself to cancer, there might a biological modality for stress to be cumulative. It builds up in certain people and manifests as neuromuscular.

I had a bad week with twitching and hand tremors, but also lots of stress. This morning It seems fine. I don't take any medications for my twitching. I take vitimins, but I think I will end up on the ativan train soon enough unless I can find a way to release the stress. If I figure it out, I;ll be sure to share with the forum
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Re: question: twitch vs. tremor?

Postby tatsu15 on May 26th, 2009, 5:42 pm

Thank you mcurfman, fox2run and simon for such informative posts.
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Re: question: twitch vs. tremor?

Postby fish on June 3rd, 2009, 1:44 pm

Sigh. Unfortunately I know too much about this. I was diagnosed with Essential Tremor 7 years ago. About 2 years ago I started having fasciculations in addition. I was never diagnosed with BFS, but my symptoms fit the bill. I saw a neuro and he said everything was fine.

Essential Tremor: This is an action or postural tremor. You can see it when you are actively trying to manipulate a muscle. Either holding it in place or moving it around. It generally shows up as high frequency movements. Even when its not visible, I can often feel the tremors in my muscles, like I am being hit with electricity. One thing I see is that its a smooth consistent vibration. Up and down, back and forth at the same frequency when its going on.

Fasciculation: I see this as a small section of a muscle contracting and relaxing. It usually occurs when that muscle is at complete rest. People on this site have described it in detail and I see some variations. My experience has been that it is not a consistent vibration. More like a single, or a few short contractions of a small muscle followed by nothing. I'll see a finger move to the side once or two or three times in rapid succession. Or, as videos will show, you get a larger muscle with a small section vibrating.

Parkinson's: I have known people with Parkinson's and as others have noted, there are a lot of other signs. That being said, the people I have seen with it have a slow, consistent back and forth movement that exists when the person is at complete rest. Parkinson's is what I always worry about because the BFS finger twitches get me thinking, but it has never been the case.
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