EMG - didn't do for me what I'd hoped

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EMG - didn't do for me what I'd hoped

Postby Jenna on January 9th, 2015, 4:05 pm

Thanks for the reassurances and PM's about my EMG. I had my EMG yesterday. I thought if stop obsessing about worse case diseases after the EMG but I'm saddened and kinda disgusted with my crazy persisting thoughts. I'm going to share them below. Feel free to call me crazy or give me another perspective.

The neurologist was not a neuromuscular specialist, he only stuck me in 3 muscle groups (all on right side- lower leg, lower arm, upper arm, somewhere in the middle of upper back). He didn't stick me on my left, if I had issues on the left but not the right, how do I have faith in results if he only tested the right? He verbally told me results were normal and said I could pick up report later. What if the report says different than what he's said, how does he know it's normal if he didn't even go get the report/print out of EMG? Trust issues I guess, I've had this happen with an MRI report of the brain, different neurologist and radiologist missed something on my MRI.

After EMG, I showed him the front of my neck (should have shown him before the EMG). When I grit my teeth, only the left side of my neck flexes. The right does not. He was a little thrown by this and immediately started feeling my neck and having me make faces while he felt and watched my neck. He concluded that's just how I'm anatomically built. To me, it looks like the right side of my neck just does not move when I make the gritting teeth/flex face. He seemed perplexed which now I'm worrying about. I'm wondering, can MND start in the neck? I asked him and he said no but he's not a specialist in MND so how would he know? I have no weakness in my neck.

I'm just so disappointed in myself that I continue to obsess, I thought the EMG was the answer....anyone else experience this?
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Re: EMG - didn't do for me what I'd hoped

Postby Scboy on January 10th, 2015, 10:07 am

Your story matches many including myself. On my emg I was expecting them to stick the needle in every muscle from head to toe. I think you need to trust your doctors. It's easy to read too much into facial expressions and comments of the doctor when you are in an anxious frame of mind.
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Re: EMG - didn't do for me what I'd hoped

Postby d4twitch on January 10th, 2015, 11:17 pm

Jenna wrote:
After EMG, I showed him the front of my neck (should have shown him before the EMG). When I grit my teeth, only the left side of my neck flexes. The right does not. He was a little thrown by this and immediately started feeling my neck and having me make faces while he felt and watched my neck. He concluded that's just how I'm anatomically built. To me, it looks like the right side of my neck just does not move when I make the gritting teeth/flex face. He seemed perplexed which now I'm worrying about. I'm wondering, can MND start in the neck? I asked him and he said no but he's not a specialist in MND so how would he know? I have no weakness in my neck.

I'm just so disappointed in myself that I continue to obsess, I thought the EMG was the answer....anyone else experience this?


I hope this offers you a bit of comfort. My neck has been doing the same thing since this began (9 months twitching for me now). I would say 75-80% of my twitches are on the left side of my body, but when I move my jaw side to side the muscles in the left part of my neck move uncontrollably (the equivalent of having a muscle that isn't quite entirely flexed or hasn't relaxed yet, quite a normal thing, just weird to see it so easily in the neck I think), my right side is so minor in comparison. Many people do get this quick flexing of the neck muscle and then relaxation, just not near the degree the left side of my neck does. The doctor is likely right though and to some degree it is probably just how you are built. Your jaw is likely positioned in a certain way that puts more stress on one side of your neck, or you've favored that side for a long time (as weird as it sounds). Those are just some of my guesses. All the prolonged stress probably really adds to it.

I admit I freaked out over my neck for a couple of weeks about 5 months ago, but it still does the same thing and I have had no problems with it other than that.
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Re: EMG - didn't do for me what I'd hoped

Postby Jenna on January 11th, 2015, 10:45 am

Thank you, that does make me feel better. It's just scary to see one side of the neck flex like its supposed to but the other side does nothing. I will try to stop doubting my EMG results as well. It sucks having health anxiety, makes it difficult to trust any test results. I didn't expect to have so much doubt about the results. :roll:
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Re: EMG - didn't do for me what I'd hoped

Postby SecretAgentMan on January 11th, 2015, 12:35 pm

Jenna,

I don't think we've interacted before on this forum but I've been around since 2010. Although I am an engineer by trade, I have become a student of the mind and the patterns of human thought/behavior. I even went so far as to take a course and get certified as a hypnotist this past summer. My interest in these subjects started when I went through my own crazy BFS experience with some of the most intense fear, worry, and anxiety of my life. I have since overcome my condition and am back to better than what I used to consider 'normal'. I continue to come back to the forum to chime in here and there with my perspective hoping that it might help others who want to listen.

Anyway, I just wanted to comment regarding your thoughts of fear and worry after your EMG. This is actually quite normal. When you get into a thought pattern of constant fear and worry the rational logical mind automatically seeks reassurance. This cycle of thought develops as a pattern in the subconscious mind. A stimulus event (say a twitch) triggers a fear (a nasty disease). This fear triggers a series of thoughts about an undesirable outcome (worry). As the worry persists the next rational thought is to seek comfort through reassurance. At this point the self feels weak, vulnerable, and scared. The logical solution is to seek someone more knowledgeable and experienced to give us strength and give us knowledge to circumvent our fears. Unfortunately this is only a temporary fix because soon after the reassurance our trained mind begins to fall back into the same thought pattern. Some new stimulus event (another twitch or new symptom) triggers the fear, worry, and reassurance seeking cycle yet again. That is because the subconscious mind has learned behavior patterns that it follows. It learns these patterns from your previous experiences. You teach it how to act. Because the subconscious mind is, by definition, operates below the threshold of our conscious awareness. That is why you are unaware of these cycles of thought and can even feel like a victim of your own thoughts. The good news is, you don't have to be a victim because you can retrain your thought patterns. You just have to know how to do it.

Have you ever been in one of those circular swimming pools where you get together with a bunch of friends and all move in one direction where you create a whirlpool? Then after you get the water moving you sit back and can let the water carry you in a circle around the pool. Have you ever tried stopping in the whirlpool or even tried going against the current? At first it is very, very difficult. The current is flowing in a direction because that is the momentum of your previous actions. If you keep at it though the current begins to dissipate and break. Eventually the whirlpool breaks down and you can retrain the water to move in the opposite direction. It just takes continued effort and focus on the new goal in order to do so. You can't realistically expect to turn around in a moving whirlpool and expect the water to immediately cease can you? Nature doesn't work that way. Neither does the mind. I'm using the whirlpool analogy to illustrate how the mind works. Your current learned patterns and behaviors are like whirlpools. They are cyclical and they have momentum. They have been reinforced by your behaviors up until this point in your life. They are reinforced every time you go through the cycle and don't do anything to change it. You can stop the whirlpool and change the thought pattern. It just starts out difficult and requires continued action on your part.

The mind is very complex. It has many different aspects. It has conscious awareness, which is just the tip of a very deep and immense iceberg. It has a subconscious aspect that consists of all your learned and reinforced behaviors. The vast majority of your mind is subconscious. Some examples of subconscious learned patterns/behaviors would be like in the famous Pavlov's Dogs experiment. Dr. Pavlov would ring a bell every day before giving his dogs a treat. The dogs soon learned to associate the ringing bell with getting a treat. It did not take long before he would ring the bell and the dogs would start salivating. So what is it about hearing a bell that can make a dog salivate? You cannot eat a bell. A bell does not taste appetizing at all. Bells have absolutely nothing to do with eating. The ringing bell is simply an association that is made within the subconscious mind. It is not like the dogs were consciously aware of this association. When the bell was rung did the dogs have to think about what that meant? No, the association was instantaneous, almost a knee-jerk reaction. It happens without thinking. It happens below the threshold of awareness. We humans do this all the time too. You are doing it when have some sort of symptom that sets off your fears and worries. You then leap to seeking reassurance. It happens without you having to sit down and analyze what is happening or taking place. You are instead caught up in the conscious whirlpool that is created by this pattern.

So you might be asking, "how to I change my subconscious patterns?" Well, the first step is in the conscious realization of the pattern being there in the first place. Being aware of it allows you to observe the pattern and how you react to certain stimuli events without thinking. See how your symptoms cause fear and how the fear causes worry and how the worry provokes a feeling of vulnerability that makes you seek reassurance. Think about what in this cycle you want to change. How would you want it to play out in an ideal situation? If I might make a suggestion, this particular cycle of negativity is one of victim-hood. A more positive cycle would be of empowerment. This would circumvent the part where you worry until you find someone or something to reassure you and replace it with the ability to circumvent the worry all by yourself. Sounds lofty, I know, but it is possible. Being empowered to reassure yourself greatly reduces the worry time and can eventually diminishes its intensity as well. Eventually in this process fears begin to reduce in duration and intensity as well. It is a gradual process and you'll need to be patient with yourself. Realize that by being aware of your subconscious patterns taking place is an empowering first step all in its own. Being aware gives you the power to then make changes, whereas before you felt like a victim. The more you begin to change the way you think, the more your perspective changes for the better. More empowerment. The whirlpool will begin to dissipate and your life will soon begin to reflect these changes you are making.

Sorry this post is so long but I wanted to be thorough in my explanation to help drive the point home. I also recommend you pick up the practice of meditation at least once per day. Meditation has all kinds of advertised benefits if you research it at all. Meditation is also good for accessing and reprogramming subconscious thought patterns because it is such a good visualization exercise tool. Studies have also shown that when you relax, breathe, and focus your brainwaves slow down. In the lower brainwave states your conscious mind dips into the subconscious range and these things are more easily accessed. Hypnosis is the same way. You can reprogram your subconscious behavior patterns by playing these scenarios out in your mind, while in a relaxed state. Visualize yourself reacting the way you WANT to react in the future. The more you practice in your mind, the easier it will be in waking life to actually follow through with the practiced behavior. Studies have repeatedly shown that athletes who visualize practicing perform better in their actual performance than athletes who don't mentally visualize and practice. The brain has a hard time telling the difference between imagined and real. Tools like meditation and hypnosis allow you to use this to your advantage. Do you see your opportunity here with these tools? Mentally playing through the scenario in your mind you can practice empowering yourself to know that you will always be OK no matter what. You don't need other people to tell you this because deep down you already know it.

I hope this helps. I'll be available if you have any questions. Thanks for reading and good luck.
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: EMG - didn't do for me what I'd hoped

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