ALS & Fasciculations posted by Dr. Will

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ALS & Fasciculations posted by Dr. Will

Postby Dr. Will on August 22nd, 2013, 9:47 am

Dear BFS Website,

My name is Dr. Anthony Will and I am a dual Board Certified Neuromusculoskeletal Medicine & Family Medicine physician in Glendale, Arizona.
I am not an ALS specialist. My NMM practice is focused primarily on various pain syndromes such as Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, Fibromyalgia, and Sports related injuries. I have been involved in diagnosing three ALS cases in my 10-year career.
I have been very impressed with the great encouragement and support that this website offers for many individuals that are effected by fasciculation’s of unknown origin. These certainly can be a very scary experience.
I would like to share some very encouraging information based on my own experience with fasciculation’s and seeking consultation by two Neuromusculoskeletal Disease Neurologists. Physician one at The Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale Arizona and physician two in private practice in Phoenix Arizona who operates an ALS Clinic and has cared for one of my past dear patients with ALS.
About 10 months ago, I like many others, had experienced an increase in stress in my life with the sudden onset of muscle twitches in the left foot and soon all over. Of course I knew that I was not experiencing any weakness, but like many I started to second-guess myself and I began my own obsession with daily strength tests. I even would ask my fellow partners and medical students to check my reflexes to ensure that they were not hyperactive. Finally it was time to see a specialist and obtain an objective non-biased evaluation. I had the MRI, EMG, and several detailed neurological exams. After two NMD specialists assured me that the fasciculation’s were “benign” I finally let go of the worry and fear and now I barely notice them.

Here is some sage information shared by experts in the field of ALS with regards to fasciculations:

1. Everybody experiences fasciculation’s.
2. They are more common with exercise, dehydration, caffeine use, increased anxiety and stress.
3. They are not an area of medicine that receives much research funding or medical education attention due to their non-life threatening status.
4. If fasciculation’s are present without weakness or obvious muscle atrophy then it is NOT ALS.
5. Fasciculation do not precede weakness and thus will not turn into ALS later in life.
6. People with ALS present with unexplained weakness first, not just fasciculation’s.
7. If a patient has a normal neurological exam and EMG they do not have ALS.
8. Treat underlying anxiety.
9. See a well-qualified physician and put your ALS Fear to Bed.
10. Breathe easy and laugh at them. They kind of tickle.

God Bless & Be Well.
Dr. Will
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Re: ALS & Fasciculations posted by Dr. Will

Postby aztwitchy on August 22nd, 2013, 9:56 am

Dr. Will wrote:Dear BFS Website,

My name is Dr. Anthony Will and I am a dual Board Certified Neuromusculoskeletal Medicine & Family Medicine physician in Glendale, Arizona.
I am not an ALS specialist. My NMM practice is focused primarily on various pain syndromes such as Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, Fibromyalgia, and Sports related injuries. I have been involved in diagnosing three ALS cases in my 10-year career.
I have been very impressed with the great encouragement and support that this website offers for many individuals that are effected by fasciculation’s of unknown origin. These certainly can be a very scary experience.
I would like to share some very encouraging information based on my own experience with fasciculation’s and seeking consultation by two Neuromusculoskeletal Disease Neurologists. Physician one at The Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale Arizona and physician two in private practice in Phoenix Arizona who operates an ALS Clinic and has cared for one of my past dear patients with ALS.
About 10 months ago, I like many others, had experienced an increase in stress in my life with the sudden onset of muscle twitches in the left foot and soon all over. Of course I knew that I was not experiencing any weakness, but like many I started to second-guess myself and I began my own obsession with daily strength tests. I even would ask my fellow partners and medical students to check my reflexes to ensure that they were not hyperactive. Finally it was time to see a specialist and obtain an objective non-biased evaluation. I had the MRI, EMG, and several detailed neurological exams. After two NMD specialists assured me that the fasciculation’s were “benign” I finally let go of the worry and fear and now I barely notice them.

Here is some sage information shared by experts in the field of ALS with regards to fasciculations:

1. Everybody experiences fasciculation’s.
2. They are more common with exercise, dehydration, caffeine use, increased anxiety and stress.
3. They are not an area of medicine that receives much research funding or medical education attention due to their non-life threatening status.
4. If fasciculation’s are present without weakness or obvious muscle atrophy then it is NOT ALS.
5. Fasciculation do not precede weakness and thus will not turn into ALS later in life.
6. People with ALS present with unexplained weakness first, not just fasciculation’s.
7. If a patient has a normal neurological exam and EMG they do not have ALS.
8. Treat underlying anxiety.
9. See a well-qualified physician and put your ALS Fear to Bed.
10. Breathe easy and laugh at them. They kind of tickle.

God Bless & Be Well.
Dr. Will


a lot of people on this forum speculate there is a tie in between fibromyalgia and twitching...what is your personal opinion on that as you specialize in treating it? just curious

excellent first post by the way.
"Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity." ~World Health Organization, 1948
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Re: ALS & Fasciculations posted by Dr. Will

Postby bobajojo on August 22nd, 2013, 10:27 am

Dr. Will,
Thank you for your post! I'm sure this will ease the minds of many new twitchers on this site and future twitchers who come across this post! My guess is that people are going to see the statement that everyone twitches and want to know, but do they twitch to the levels that some of us experience? I know many people on here, myself included, feel constant twitching all over like bubbles popping under the skin in every muscle including the tongue. So much that they are impossible to count during the day. I'm over 2 years into BFS and very comfortable with my benign diagnosis but maybe you could comment on the frequency or location of twitches specifically the tongue which seems to freak people out the most? Does it matter?

Again, thank you for this post. Its going to do a lot of good!

-Matt
Over 10 billion twitches since May 2011.
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Re: ALS & Fasciculations posted by Dr. Will

Postby johnnythejet on August 22nd, 2013, 10:28 am

Thanks for posting that, Dr. Will. That feedback further reaffirms what we've been told by ALS specialists (individually) many times over.
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Re: ALS & Fasciculations posted by Dr. Will

Postby SecretAgentMan on August 22nd, 2013, 10:34 am

Somebody make this post a sticky!!
If your mind is your own worst enemy, why not make friends with it and turn it into your greatest ally? Mental discipline is achievable and there is help available. Learn what works for you, practice, and change your life for the better.
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Re: ALS & Fasciculations posted by Dr. Will

Postby garym on August 22nd, 2013, 10:56 am

SecretAgentMan wrote:Somebody make this post a sticky!!


ok, I will!
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Re: ALS & Fasciculations posted by Dr. Will

Postby SecretAgentMan on August 22nd, 2013, 12:22 pm

garym wrote:
SecretAgentMan wrote:Somebody make this post a sticky!!


ok, I will!



Thanks Gary. :D
If your mind is your own worst enemy, why not make friends with it and turn it into your greatest ally? Mental discipline is achievable and there is help available. Learn what works for you, practice, and change your life for the better.
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Re: ALS & Fasciculations posted by Dr. Will

Postby tamburia2 on August 23rd, 2013, 11:02 am

Thanks for the post dear Doctor!
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Re: ALS & Fasciculations posted by Dr. Will

Postby christo on August 23rd, 2013, 12:27 pm

Many thanks for this Dr Will !
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Re: ALS & Fasciculations posted by Dr. Will

Postby Dr. Will on August 24th, 2013, 8:49 am

Thank you for the kind comments and excellent questions.

With regards to Fibromyalgia and twitching.
Yes indeed there is some muscle twitching noted in fibro patients. However, that is not part of the diagnostic criterion.
Also the degree of twitching/fasciculations is very minor in comparison to BFS.
They are two separate and different pathological processes, in my opinion.
Interestingly they are both syndromes which is a group of symptoms without a current known cause.
Obviously more research is needed.
The good news for all BFS patients that live in a waxing and waning fear cycle, based on changing locations, is that this disorder does cause fear and worry until reassured of the diagnosis but it generally doesn't cause severe pain and certainly is not fatal, unlike many other terrible diseases processes.
I hope this helps.
Happy to answer more questions.
God Bless
Dr. Will :-)
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Re: ALS & Fasciculations posted by Dr. Will

Postby Tiber2011 on August 26th, 2013, 11:12 am

Very good post!

I blew up with a stressful job change. I had a huge range - twitches, bubbling fasics, buzzing, tingling, vibrations, shakes and pain.

I did the whole MRI-EMG (2x) route with MS specialists. Nothing found.

I was told "fibromyalgia" and BFS. Started Lyrcia, and the twitches died down.

I was obsessing over MS, than ALS, and then I'm trying to let go of ALS and eventually MS fears. Still get little muscle "burps" and buzzes and tingles here and there.
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Re: ALS & Fasciculations posted by Dr. Will

Postby Arkansan on August 26th, 2013, 1:19 pm

Thanks for an excellent first post. Your word may carry much more weight for new comers than ours, and goodness knows that in the early days of BFS it is hard to accept the twitches as harmless. Do you have any words of reassurance for the tremoring faction of BFS sufferers? For some of us this symptom is much more concerning than the actual twitches.
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Re: ALS & Fasciculations posted by Dr. Will

Postby billydog on August 26th, 2013, 7:54 pm

One of the best, reassuring post i have ever read Dr. Will. Thanks for the info. I have a question that many of us on here may wonder about and i personally have read about. The question is, do u think there is any relation to bfs and herpes?? Either oral or genital. I have read that herpes lies in the nerves so maybe that could be another possibility? Im 8 long years into twitching but still no answers. Just ppl saying it could be possibly because of stress, anxiety, caffeine, etc. In my opinion, there has got to be a root cause for this condition since so many ppl in the world suffer from this condition. I dont use any caffeine, i take xanax for stress/anxiety and to help sleep but i still have the crazy twitches.. ive been offered lyrica but have heard it can damage the heart. So whats your opinion on that?
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Re: ALS & Fasciculations posted by Dr. Will

Postby Dr. Will on August 27th, 2013, 7:24 am

Great questions again!

I have done a great deal of medical medline searching and reading various Neurology Texts on this subject.
It is hypothesized that an infection either viral or bacterial may infect a certain part of the spinal cord, the anterior horn cells.
This would make both physiologic and anatomical sense.
This is not unique to BFS, as polio and Guillian Barre have been shown to do this.
Please note those are separate processes than BFS.
Is it herpes virus?
Could be any virus, but more research is needed to answer that question.
I have seen several articles on Gabapentin/ Neurontin having very good success for the treatment of BFS.
It is a non controlled substance and is not habit forming.
Obviously, please consult with your local area treating physician to implement therapy and obtain diagnosis.
Best,
Dr. Will
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Re: ALS & Fasciculations posted by Dr. Will

Postby Dr. Will on August 27th, 2013, 7:40 am

Tremors Question.

Actually it was the left hand quiver/ tremor that finally caused me to seek an unbiased objective opinion.
The Tremors/ quivers are most likely caused by the underlying muscle fibers that are fasciculating.

Tremors are NOT a component of ALS and NOT part of that diagnosis.

Parkinson's tremors are resting tremors usually seen in people over 60 years of age.
It is also associated with very slow shuffling walking and rigidity.

Completely different from the quiver and twitching of BFS.

God Bless,
Dr. Will
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Re: ALS & Fasciculations posted by Dr. Will

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