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Dec 27, 2007
Learn about ALS
Hello everyone. I guess I should just get to the point. I have recently developed some alarming symptoms and I'm in need of some insight. I was in the gym about 2 weeks ago when it all started. I performed an exercise and the strenght in both of my arms was just fine. I went on to my exercise and found that my right arm was much weaker than my left arm. I dismissed it as general fatigue because I was sick the week before. I went back to the gym a few days later and found that my right arm was indeed weaker (probably by about 20%). I know what you guys are thinking: you hurt your arm in the gym . . . BUT . . . I felt absolutely no pain that first day in the gym and I'm still not feeling any pain of any kind. So I took the last week or so off from the gym and on Christmas day, I was sitting on my couch and felt the strength leave my left arm in a matter of 30 seconds (I've probably lost about 20% of my strength in that arm as well). It was a very strange feeling . . . as if someone had sucked the life out of it. A day later, I found that my right leg became weaker and then the next day (today), my right leg feels weaker too. I am in no pain at all; I've simply lost strenght in my limbs and they get fatigued much quicker. Can the loss of strength from limb to limb happen this quickly with ALS? I am losing sleep and obsessing about my symptoms. I have a 7 year old son and I don't want him to see me die when he is so young and I certainly want to see him grow-up. I'm trying to calm down and I find that at times I'm able to, but I always go back to this dreaded disease. What's ironic about all of this, is that I'm a college professor who teaches physiology, so I know a fair bit about the disease, but I'm certainly not an expert like you guys seem to be. Can anyone here please help me.
First of all if you have a seven-year-old son, you are probably too young to be a likely candidate for ALS--this is just a statistical observation, of course. If you have not noticed any atrophy or wasting, this is a good sign. There could be many other explanations for your symptoms aside from ALS. I know this sounds simplistic, but there is an elemental wisdom to it: anguishing over your condition will not alter your fate for better or for worse--it will not help you in any way and can only harm you. If you need help relaxing until you see your neurologist, I suggest the following homeopathic products: Rescue Remedy and Rescue Sleep, both available at many health-food stores and vitamin stores and both very effective. Valerian and melatonin can also help with sleep. If you're a person of faith, prayer and meditation can also help. The time until your appointment will melt away quickly--just go about your daily routine. Soon enough you will have definitive answers to your questions and worries.

anguishing over your condition will not alter your fate for better or for worse--it will not help you in any way and can only harm you.

Well said, Jeff. I try to practice this principle daily and do not think it is simplistic. It actually takes quite a bit of effort to put it into motion, but it remains a better use fo my time that stressing over my symptoms. Cindy

1st of all thanks for your reply to my earlier post.......I'm going to reply to that later this week (after Neurosurgeon visit).

There is a disease called Guillan Barre syndrom that can make you go weak very quickly.

It can be tested for with a spinal tap I believe and there is a cure.

Then again you could possibly have a myelopathy ? (which is what I'm fairly certain I actually have)
Anything below the level of the myelopathy can be affected and you could get sensory symptoms coming later ?
The speed of the weakness coming on could be due to the nerve root and/or spinal cord being compressed suddenly (when you moved)?

Hello Jack

Thanks for taking the time to write. I also suspected Guillain Barre syndrome, but that typically starts in the hands or feet and moves to the upper extremeties. I also don't present with other symptoms of Guillain Barre, but thank you for the suggestion. Do you have a medical / science background? That isn't a very well known disease.
Since I wrote my thread, I have more symptoms: now I'm having neck discomfort and trapezius, shoulder and upper arm pain (just on the right side) that seems to come and go. I tend to feel better when I first get up in the morning and feel better if I ice-down my neck. Do you have the same experience? I'm hopeful that it is a disc herniation compressing my spine and now, my spinal nerve root. I'm also hopeful that you . . . and others like you and me that are on here . . . have a similar problem . . . and don't have ALS.
Take care.


No I don't have a medical background, mine's Engineering.
But the way I'm looking at it, the human body is an "Engineering System" and diagnosis is basic Engineering systems analysis.
The neck pain is a good sign, I'd get an X Ray and MRI as soon as if I were you.
Have you noticed that you need to go to the toilet more often ?
When you walk 1st thing in the does it feel.....not quite right / co-ordinated ?
Do your fasciculations vary with your neck position as you lie in bed?

I'd go real easy on your neck and try some non steroidal antiinflammatories.

The more I read about ALS, the more convinced I am that the long term survivors are actually people who have spinal problems that have been misdiagnosed as ALS.......just my opinion for what it is worth.

I tried heat on my neck and I think it might have made it a bit worse ( swollen the tissues ?)....I'm not sure.


Hello again Jack

I am actually scheduled for an MRI tomorrow and hope to have the results by Friday.

I actually have a decrease in symptoms when I wake-up in the morning. I have been taking NSAIDS and lots of fish oil and it seems to be helping. I'm also icing my neck a few times a day and that helps too. I tried heat . . . and like you . . . it made things worse. Heat will cause an increase in blood flow which could increase inflammation, which is what I'm assuming happened. If it made your symptoms worse, then in my opinion, that is a good sign.
Keep me posted and I'll do the same.

Take care, Nick
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