Old 02-18-2009, 12:09 AM #1 (permalink)
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Default Twitching turned into weakness in shoulder? Do I have ALS?

Hello, I am a 24 year old male and I've had widespread muscle twitching for almost a year now with no other symptoms. It would come and go and cause no problems. I figured it was BFS and didn't worry much... especially since I had a physical neurological exam and clear brain MRI within 2-3 weeks before the twitching started. I had this done to find out what caused a week of various paresthesias in my left side... they said probably a migraine.

Fast forward to the present... about a month ago I had a twitch in my left thigh and left arm that stayed for almost half a day. It felt a bit sore after but faded quickly... weird, right? After that, a day or so later a muscle below my right shoulder blade started twitching and although it stopped intermittently it lasted about 5 to 6 days in total. It started off very noticeable but it eventually faded away until I had to touch it with my hand to be sure it was still there. Once it stopped, I noticed my arm felt a bit funny but figured it was just a bit tired from the workout.

Now, my shoulder is drooping and my right arm is weaker than the left. I thought it was perceived at first but lifting weights I cannot do as much anymore even though it is my dominant side. There may be some scapula winging... I notice my shoulder feels rather "loose" when I do the wall test versus my left side. I wonder if this is a sign of muscle atrophy since I can't get a real good look at my back. It hasn't gotten any better and if anything is slightly worse... leading to this anxiety.

Everytime I google these symptoms ALS comes up and even though I know age is on my side, I don't know what else this could be. I've read about studies where twitching presents first and then within a year weakness comes, and that shoulder girdle weakness is a hallmark of this disease. I know I haven't been diagnosed with anything and I don't want to belittle anyone who has this insidious disease but I am really scared and I can't get in to see a doctor for quite a while.

Does this sound like ALS? Thank you for your support and help.
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Old 02-18-2009, 12:59 AM #2 (permalink)
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Unfortunately, with internet searches muscle twitching always brings up ALS at the top of the list even though 99.99% of the time its not. There are a number of things that could cause your symptoms (with a past history of parethesia some type of neuropathy maybe?).

A month or so is extremely fast for atrophy to set in. I do not have ALS, but from what I've read of other's experiences atrophy begins to show after a person has felt weakness for a significant length of time.

Ultimately, no one here can diagnose you. With your history it might be worthwhile to schedule a follow-up with your doctor.

Take care,

Robert
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Old 02-18-2009, 06:19 AM #3 (permalink)
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That sounds almost classic for something called Parsonage-Turner syndrome (it was your winged scapula that really stood out to me). On the internet it says it always presents with excruciating pain, followed by weakness and atrophy (and this happens very quickly). However, the syndrome doesn't always present with pain (the internet never gives the full story . . . just the most exciting one). It's thought to be autoimmune in nature but bloodwork is typically clean. There is no treatment but people almost always make a full recovery.

That is just one possibility of many. Right now, I certainly wouldn't be worrying about ALS given what you have said. Go to a neuro and get evaluated and stop self-diagnosing yourself.
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