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judy.king

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I am a 64 yo female in generally excellent health. A little over a year ago, I noticed that my balance was not great and I tended to lean/walk to the right at times. My husband and I joked that we were getting older and had terrible balance.

Early last fall, I began to have what I called "dead leg" on the right. When I stood up from sitting...only at times...my leg would feel wooden and my stride was a bit jerky on the right. It was work when I sat for long periods or slouched on the sofa.

I finally saw an ortho spine physician a few weeks ago. I do have a history of cervical spurs (osteophytes) and at the time had severe neck pain and numbness on the left. I told the ortho about this. He did a generally exam and determined that I had some mild weakness in my right arm and leg. He reports a positive Hoffman's bilaterally, but I think it's just on the right. He thought I has slurred speech, but my family doesn't see any real difference in my speech. I've always had a slight "s" slur and admit to some trouble with "L" words like "cellular" and "Philadelphia" if I try to say them too fast.

I had an MRI of the cervical spine which showed severe foraminal stenosis from C3 down to C6. It also showed 4 areas where osteophytes are pressing on my cord and the radiologist called it "moderate". I do have mod/severe arthritis in my entire spine. However, he does not think that this is causing my gait issues. He wants me to go see a neuro and I am waiting for an appt. He mentioned pseudo bulbar palsy as a possible differential diagnosis. I researched that and just don't see that I have those symptoms at all. I asked about MND and he just shrugged his shoulders.

I began taking ibuprofen 600mg, three times a day for discomfort and to see if it would help my symptom of the "wooden leg" on the right. Lo and behold, it has made a huge difference in my gait to the point of most days walking pretty normally. I do still have right leg weakness when trying to lift my leg up and have to be careful to not trip.

I have had right SI joint issues over the past couple of years and had it injected twice, so I know I have some lumbar spine issues as well but have not had an MRI at this time.

I have begun to have some slight muscle cramping in the backs of my thighs when I get in bed at night, but not during the day. Tonight I had a cramp in my toes on the left as well and freaked out. I've had a muscle in my right abdominal area that twitched occasionally but have had that for many years.

I understand that you are not physicians, but please tell me I don't have ALS. BTW, I am a registered nurse and work in oncology but work from home on a database. I sit all day at a computer and notice that when I sit for long periods, the right leg issue is worse when I first stand and take a few steps, then it works out.
 

lgelb

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Judy,
If I or anyone else here had the ability to differentiate precisely pre-existing neuropathy and cord compression from ALS, we'd be on Wall Street picking stocks. So see the neuro, get the EMG/NCV s/he'll likely want (and maybe an MRI of the rest of your spine), and go from there. I hope, and statistically, it is most likely, that your sx can be managed with PT and/or surgery. If ibu is producing improvement, it suggests an inflammatory component and that is hopeful as well.

Best,
Laurie
 

Atsugi

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Judy, I don't see ALS here at all.

You mentioned balance. The onset of ALS does not affect balance or any other sense.
Your family hears no slur. In the bulbar form of ALS, the tongue is paralyzed and so everyone hears an obvious slur.
If a pill helped your walking, that's certainly not ALS. ALS does not get better for any reason.

There are many things that could explain your symptoms, but I'm not a doctor and won't try to diagnose you. As you say, we here know ALS pretty well, and I don't think anyone here would say they see ALS in your description.

Worry about your health if you must, and follow up with your doctors, but don't sweat ALS.

--Mike
 

judy.king

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PALS
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03/2019
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Fl
Thank you for your responses. I realize how rare this disease is, but happen to know of two people who has passed away from it, so I'm sure that doesn't help. I did not know either of them well and am not aware of how their disease progressed.
I have an appt. with another spine doc to examine my thoracic, lumbar and sacral spine as I believe my issues are coming from somewhere there. I'll see the neuro if I can ever get the appt. and will report back with findings.

Once again, I appreciate your patience with those of us who are struggling to find answers...

Kindest regards....
 

judy.king

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Messages
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PALS
Diagnosis
03/2019
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US
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I just want you respondents to know how appreciative I am of you for taking your time to answers these questions. Since my panic attack a few nights ago when I wrote this and heard back from two of you, I am confident that this is not ALS. So grateful to you....
 

judy.king

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Reason
PALS
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03/2019
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US
State
Fl
I wanted to report back to let you know that I had my EMG today and it was clean. It showed some mild low amplitude on the left ankle area where I have some mild sensory changes. She said she would do a more in depth look at it, but her opinion is that is shows no denervation of any kind.

I still have an MRI of the L-spine and head pending in a week, but my symptoms continue to improve and are almost completely gone with the three times a day ibuprofen.
 

Atsugi

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Thanks, Judy. Good luck.
 
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