Tremors and Twitches... Scared that I have ALS

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JerseyPhil

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Hi there, I'm an incoming college freshman and just turned 19 a few weeks back. I've been so scared in the past two months, worrying if I might have ALS or other motor neuron diseases. It all started in April (3-4 months ago) when I developed this hand tremor (mainly right hand, but there's also some slight tremors on my left hand). My right hand started to get really sore when I was hand-writing essays and papers and such (which normally doesn't happen in the past). I cut my daily dose of coffee and black tea and it got better as time goes by. (Don't know if it's related, but I did have some aspects of hypochondria in the past)

Early June, I traveled abroad to visit families and was placed into a 21-day quarantine in a hotel room. That's when I "perceived' a slight weakness in my right hand, and gradually, right limb. It didn't prevent me from performing any day-to-day functions, so I didn't pay much attention early on. After several days of isolation, I started having muscle twitches everywhere, about 5-20 times a day, in various locations, including feet, legs, torso, arms, palms, back, chest, cheek, etc. The muscle would twitch once, or in some cases, several times, and then stopped completely once I started moving and touching it. Meanwhile, my hand tremor started worsening (it gets better sometimes); sometimes it shakes so bad that I found it a bit difficult to button up dress shirts/click the right tab on my laptop. I had difficulties falling asleep for quite a long time. started frantically doing strength tests at home and in office (I'm doing an internship), screwing and unscrewing water bottle caps, unbottoning and buttoning my suit-jacket tirelessly, doing squats and jumping every five minutes, try lifting heavy weights with my right hand...

Finally, I decided to go see a doctor two days ago. I had a scheduled appointment to do a complete physical exam anyways, so I thought it wouldn't hurt if I go see the neurologist as well. The physical exam was fine (ruling out cerebral issues and stuff like that). The neurologist had me doing some quick strength tests and she concluded that I had no clinical weakness. I then asked to do an EMG, and she advised not to (as there's no proper underlying conditions aside from tremors and twitches). Instead, she prescribed anti-depressants and vitamins. However, I was still unsure about the results afterwards and I had really bad tremors this morning.

Now my friends and families all asked me to see a psychiatrist and my co-workers thought I'm going insane. I knew this is not the place to ask for diagnosis, but it would really help rest my mind if I could learn more about ALS and how it developed and how that process differed/coincided from mine (for example, are hand tremors and wide-spread twitches common symptoms?). And again, I wanted to pay my upmost respect to those who lost their loved ones.
 

ShiftKicker

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Hi there- please have a read here: Read Before Posting

It explains a few things and covers much of what brings people to this forum. Your neurologist would have been the best person to detect if there were neurological issues. As she has said there are not, and there is no need for an EMG, there is not much more this forum can do for you. Also, hand tremors are not related to ALS. If they are still bothering you, you must address it with the doctor.

Your self testing pattern certainly does indicate life affecting anxiety. While it's not something the folk here can help you with, it sounds like you are receiving treatment for it. Once you start to manage your anxiety and reduce the symptoms caused by that, it might be easier for the doctor to figure out if there is another biological component to your symptoms.

Best wishes and hopefully you find some relief soon. It is recommended you cut yourself off from anything that increases anxiety- like searching this forum or online for symptoms. Take care
 

JerseyPhil

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Thank you so much for the reply (and I have a lot of respect for everyone kind enough to answer these questions)! I did read the rules/guidelines but it just couldn't quite calm my nerve... What happened was that (I'm currently abroad and in a country where ALS still doesn't raise much awareness) the neurologist I went to see was pretty occupied and she had only had the time to take a brief look and do like two sets of clinical exam. Then she was just like "I've never seen a 18,19 yr old, with no family history, developing ALS". Should I try seeking out advices from another neurologist when I make my return to the states, or should I just take the anti-depressants and observe what comes next?
 

ShiftKicker

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My first reply still applies, no matter what country you're in. It's up to you what you choose to do, but this forum, as you will have read in the link, is not the place for you. I hope you are truly able to believe that.
 

affected

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I'm sure however that the medical training of that neurologist was sufficient to recognise a terminal illness response during what seems to you like a brief look and exams. Please listen to the advice you are being offered and follow it. We cannot do anything more.
 
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