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New member
Feb 10, 2007
Learn about ALS
Hi all,

I guess the title of my post pretty much explains how I've been feeling lately, wondering whether I have ALS or some other insidious problem.

About December of 2006, shortly after my 40th birthday, I started noticing some really strange things happening to my body. I have been hoping that it is due to one of 3 factors - 1) stress from work, 2) something related to a 4 day unexplained fever, or 3) something related to hitting my neck very hard on my bed head (exaplanation will follow).

1) I lead a very stressful life as the Property manager for my Government Department. I have been acting in this position since February 2006 and I feel like I am always on tenderhooks due to the amount of people always wanting something from me. I only have one other staffer working for me and I am usually always feeling stressed out at the end of the day. Nearing the end of last year I was having a lot of stress in my job. I have always had a fairly stressful life at work and can't drink caffinated coffee or any softdrink with caffeine in it as I usually get twitches in my face.

2) I had a couple of incidents of fever last year. The first one (and possibly the second one...I can't quite remember) was due to taking old medication (dizapam I think) for a whiplash injury that I suffered in 2000. Oh...that resulted in injuries to the facet joints btw. The second fever was over my birthday 22/11 to 25/11/06 but went away after taking panadol.

3) I got out of bed one night in early December to close the bedroom window as it was making the blinds hit the window. In my frustration from not getting to sleep I just jumped straight back into bed thinking that I had judged the pillow right. To my dismay, I hit the top of my neck (I'd have to say the C1 disc) on the headrest of the bed and immediately noticed pain, swelling (about your little fingernail in depth) and some big strong spasms from my neck to my shoulder. I immediately put some ice on it and took some panadol but the swelling never went away until a couple of days later. It seemed to be mainly on the right side of my neck and I remember that if I slept on my left side the spasms would start again in the neck. This went on for about a week before I got no more spasms in the neck during sleep.

I think it was generally around the same time as the neck injury that I started my symptoms -

excess sweating
little muscle spasms (like flies hitting your leg) in the calves
tight muscles in the back of my legs, leading to
tight muscles in the front of my legs, leading to
tight muscles in the middle of my legs, leading to
tight muscles on the inside of my legs (more pronounced in my r-leg), leading to
a sore right knee and weakness in my r-knee

I took Nurofen Plus for the knee and it seemed to settle it down. The stiffness in my legs also has dissipated somewhat and the weakness in my right knee came good. However, I've noticed that when I cross my right leg over my left one I get a dead leg in my right leg more often than not.

Although the spasms in my calves aren't that strong I don't think they have gone away. Initially, they were quite pronounced and I had some strong spasms in my inner thighs (most noticably my right thigh). The spasms and frequency of them seem to go down when I do not feel stressed but I do get some strong spasms in my middle/left/right back if I sit in this camp chair at my PC as its a folding one thats backrest sits in the middle of my back.

I'm a bit concerned lately that my pulse stays up quite high (85) as I normally have a resting pulse of 60 when I go to bed.

One of the doctors I see hasn't been much help so far. He asked me to grip his fingers and measured the strength in my legs but didn't say anything about what he was looking for. I went to the gym today and was able to do leg extensions with the pin in the 65 mark so my strength is still there. I did some dumbell training as well and didn't find any real weakness there.

I don't know whether it is all in my mind but I sometimes have a feeling that my throat is weak. The feeling comes and goes and sometimes when I speak (only the past couple of days) I have had to clear my throat during a sentence. I don't know whether this is anxiety or not.

I've lost about 3 kilos lately. This could be due to stress, my increased heartbeat and only eating a piece of fruit over 2 days because of my stress. I have got my appetite back but all of the above is still weighing on my mind.

I've read a lot obout ALS on the net and felt like this forum is for me. I hope to find out more on the 16th of February when I see a neurologist so what sort of questions should I be asking them?

Sincerely wishing you all well.

Welcome to the forum AussiePat. I hope you can find some of the answers here to the questions you have. Sounds like your symptoms can be many different things.

I had a back and neck injury 18 years before I developed any ALS symptoms. I was DX on May 11, 2006 after 2 years of muscle spasms and a continued weakness developing in my leg muscles. I have what is referred to as Limb Onset ALS. There are many variations of ALS, each with it's own symptoms.

If it were me, the first thing I would ask of the neurologist is will they do an EMG and a nerve conduction study. This can possibly rule out ALS if the tests are negative.

Here is more information on these from WebMd:

Electromyogram (EMG) and Nerve Conduction Studies
Test Overview
An electromyogram (EMG) measures the electrical impulses of muscles at rest and during contraction. Nerve conduction studies, which measure nerve conduction velocity, determine how well individual nerves can transmit electrical signals. Nerves control the muscles in the body using electrical impulses, and these impulses make the muscles react in specific ways. Nerve and muscle disorders cause the muscles to react in abnormal ways. Measuring the electrical activity in muscles and nerves can help detect the presence, location, and extent of diseases that can damage muscle tissue (such as muscular dystrophy) or nerves (such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis). In the case of nerve injury, the actual site of nerve damage can often be located. EMG and nerve conduction studies are usually done together to provide more complete information.

I hope this helps,
God Bless
Capt AL
Hi Patrick. Welcome to our forum. I'd be asking for an MRI of the neck region to rule out pinched nerves or disc protrusions. The NCV and EMG are probably needed as well to either rule out ALS or any other MND. The stress and neck injury sort of point in other directions but only a thorough examination by a Neurologist experienced in MND can tell for sure.
Thanks Al. I'll hopefully have more answers at the end of this week.

Be well.

From New Zealand

Hi Patrick
have a look at my web site to see how I am dealing with MND. I was diagnosed on 15/12/2005

Robert Coutts ( Upper Hutt, New Zealand)
Hello Robert. Nice website. I see you are a person with great ideas and optimism. Glad you decided to join us. Cindy
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