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undiagnosed- cramp fasciculation syndrome?

PostPosted: September 12th, 2014, 4:34 pm
by Minnman
Greetings all- as should be obvious, I'm new here.

Here is my story. I am 53 y.o and am (or was?) a serious recreational cyclist. Up until early August, I was riding about 250 miles week. But in early August I crashed and broke my hand.

Obviously, for the next few days I did no physical exercise, but about 4 days later I figured I should try to do something to keep up my cardio fitness, so I got on my wife's elliptical device. To my shock, after about 15 minutes, I had to stop because I developed severe cramps in my thighs. The same thing happened the next day and also, at this time I found that walking for more than 15-20 minutes produced the same effect. Just days earlier I routinely did strenuous exercise for 2-5 hours straight, and now suddenly I couldn't even walk the mile from my home to work!

After about a week, the symptoms became less severe, but did not go away . I began to do a some research about exercise intolerance and ran across stuff about BFS and BCFS. And I realized that indeed, I also twitch. In fact, I've been twitching for some time, but somehow, I hadn't noticed.

My twitches are chiefly in my thighs - these of course are the muscles most stressed by cycling - but elsewhere (arms, torso) as well. They come in single events and in my thighs, in trills and are more frequent when I've been using the muscles. I estimate that I get them about once per minute when I've been resting, and more after walking or similar.

I don't know when the twitching started. They seem much more frequent now than prior to the onset of the cramping, but maybe I'm just more conscious of them. They don't really bother me that much, they are just a minor annoyance - it seems some of you have much more aggravating twitching.

But cycling is my true passion and persistent exercise intolerance would come close to wrecking my life.

my hand is still healing and I haven't yet tried bike riding again. After that first week, I stopped doing cardio. I've been just hoping that my body will "reset" and the exercise intolerance will go away...I haven't sought medical advice yet - I figure, I'll get back on the bike in a few weeks, see how the situation is, and if the trouble persists, make an appointment.

I don't really have specific question, but I'm open to all advice or comparisons to your experiences.



Re: undiagnosed- cramp fasciculation syndrome?

PostPosted: September 12th, 2014, 11:53 pm
by Yuliasir
hi Marc,

not being a doctor or medical person, I still may tell you that cramps caused by physical activity most probably must be of cirulatory origin not neurogenic. Rapid change from very significant load to almost a full 'idle mode' must be a great stress for your muscles and related vasculature, so you had developed this excersise intolerance and cramps becasue what happens I think is that when you start loading your muscles for now after some period of non-usage, your overall bulk muscle mass just could not have enough blood supply (just becasue your body for some reasons may not deliver enough blood, I think age also plays some role as probably the walls of our veins and arteries may not be as perfect as in youngsters anyway) and experience some ishemia therefore you feel cramps. I am pretty sure that if you will search the net for consequences of training pause in a fit athletes, you may find similar stories. By the way, many of BFS fellows report they were extremely fit and doing strenous excercises before getting into BFS and experience about the same issues like you - extreme excersise intolerance afte short interruption of the great load they used to experience before. Medication you may take for your hand pain (if any) may aggravate this intolerance too as they may affect blood viscosity or vaculature tonus.

So I think you may consider yourself as a beginning from the very zero and start from minor physical loads, increasing slowly, and with the some time your muscles would be get used and your blood circulation would be renewed and you can get your cycling again.

Usually people overocme this intolerance as I may judge from their reports here.

have my best wishes

Re: undiagnosed- cramp fasciculation syndrome?

PostPosted: September 13th, 2014, 1:26 am
by Minnman
Thank you Yulia, for your very detailed and caring reply.

I hope that you are right - that the exercise intolerance and cramps will not be permanent. It certainly is my intent to start out slowly and build up my stamina and exercise load gradually. I have this fear that out there lurking beyond some fairly close horizon - 12 miles of easy pedaling, there's a threshold beyond which my legs will seize up. But I won't know until I try - gingerly at first.

It's 5 weeks after the accident. I can walk that mile to work now, but sometimes when I do I feel incipient cramping in my thighs. That makes me worry.

I did look for reports of exercise intolerance following abrupt cessation of a heavy exercise regimen. I didn't find any, but maybe that's just my failing. It certainly doesn't seem like a coincidence that the problem arose after an abrupt change to my daily rouitine.

Also, I didn't take any meds for the broken hand - one iburprofen the day of the accident. Once the hand was splinted, it didn't hurt much. I did get a tetanus shot that day, too, which I have wondered about.

But indeed I really do twitch, and so perhaps the overview (somewhat hopeful) is that I have some relatively tolerable case of BFS, in which the cramps and exercise intolerance are a temporary episode.

For those of you who have weathered much more of this BFS affliction, do additional symptoms, such as cramps, etc., come and go on top of more persistent symptoms, such as twitching?


Re: undiagnosed- cramp fasciculation syndrome?

PostPosted: September 13th, 2014, 1:40 am
by Yuliasir
I have both twitching and cramps, and they come and go and sometimes I have crazy sessions lasting for days when I can not turn in my bed without cramoing here and there... but since nothing worse is going on I just get used to them... I was told by the doctor my leg cramps are definitely due to slight venous valves problems, as for the rest (hands, torso) - they are not so severe anyway... and probably are result of my lifestyle (quite sedentary I must admit).

I am three years in BFS now which is now rather mild despite on high stress (I got a civil war right in my home land, and my family is involved..) so looks like at least in some cases BFS is something with clear onset after stress/infection/immunisation and slowly resolving.

by the way tetanus shot (done as per protocol in case of any open wounds which I suppose you had after getting crushed in a bycilce) may affect your immune system causing more twitches and even may contribute to excersise intolerance and fatigue and cramps. I am not sure about tetanus vaccine, but I remember that for rabies shot for example a person should not have increased physical loads, hot baths and alcohol for 6 months due to a huge load on nervous systems (central and autonomous). So probably this immunisation also made certain input into your excercise intolerance.

Wish you good healing of your hand and proper resolution of excersice intoerlance and hope your bike would be your joy again soon.