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petlover

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Hi everyone. I'm new here and have a question about seeing a doctor. I'll give you a (hopefully) brief history of my concerns.

In September, I started having some issues with my left hand. I felt like my thumb and forefinger weren't working well (hard time picking things up, etc). I don't have a GP, as mine moved out of state a few years ago. I finally went to a Resident's clinic at a nearby hospital and the doctor gave me a shot of cortisone in my hand. It didn't really help . . .

A while later I noticed that I would sometimes have a really fine quiver in my little finger and could see the muscle right below it twitching rhythmically. It would just happen randomly and only last for a few seconds. Then it started to happen in the muscle between my thumb and index finger and I started to get cramps in the palm of my hand. Now the little muscle twitches are in my wrist. I've also noticed the the muscle below my thumb is quite a bit smaller than it is on my other hand (the skin is kind of "pleated" and it looks hollowed out), but since it is my non-dominant hand, maybe it has always looked that way . . .

At around the same time (can't remember when), I started having cramps in both feet and my feet started to feel like they were flattening out. My left foot especially has started to kind of roll to the inside, as if my arch has completely disappeared. I have just recently started having the little muscle twitches in my feet as well. After doing some reading on this site, I tried walking on my toes and heels. My right foot seems to be stronger than my left foot. While I can get on my toes, once I start walking my feet starting dropping down, but more so on the left than the right, so it's like I have a "limp" when I walk on my toes. I can't really walk on my heels well at all . . . but I'm a generally clumsy person. Oh, also, the twitches are not 24/7 like some people on here talk about, but are just really random and intermittent. It's quite odd.


Anyway, I have read quite a bit on Benign Fasciculation Syndrome on this site and others, as well as reading about MNDs. I realize that the MNDs are very rare and that it is highly likely that my issues stem from BFS, but I would feel better knowing that for sure. My questions is this - should I try to find a new GP and start there first? Or just try to schedule an appointment with a neurologist? Could a GP know for sure if was BFS? Or would I just get referred to a neurologist anyway?

I would appreciate any opinions on this issue. Thanks in advance for your time. I really appreciate it.
 

ottawa girl

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Hello & Welcome,

I'd start with a GP. You ought to have a family physician anyway, so may as well find one, get a physical (I'm thinking it's been awhile since you had one) and go from there.

For the record:
My twitches are not, nor have they ever been, 24/7- they are intermittent and I mostly notice than more when I'm still.
I'm also a pet lover!
 

mich5

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I agree with Ottawa, go to a GP first. My GP ran some tests to determine if I even needed to see a neurologist.

Perhaps you and your GP can find the cause of your problems w/o needing a neurologist at all. :) that's what I'm hoping for you.
 

petlover

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You both make excellent points. I suppose it would be smart to have a doctor, LOL!

Thank you so much for taking the time to respond. I really appreciate it, and best wishes to both of you.
 

momap53

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I'm with Mich and Elaine!

Get a new GP. He or she can do a basic exam and make recommendations from there.

We have a very large Dachshund, large Marmelade cat and a tiny striped kitten.
 

petlover

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Thanks, Deb. Your pets sound cute. I grew up with several FAT Dachshunds, LOL! We have an Australian Kelpie who is almost blind, a Terrior mix, and three kitties - we had five kitties for quite awhile, but two of them passed away this fall. Animals make life better, for sure.
 

ddourney

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I agree to find a GP first, you should have one. If they suspect ALS at all, or even to rule it out, see if there is an ALS clinic in your area, they are much more qualified to give the answers.
 

Luke

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First, kudos to you for reading our sticky posts before posting your question. These symptoms are so vague and subtle I wouldn't worry about ALS or even BFS yet, for that matter. As everyone has said, a basic physical exam is a good next step. Good luck and please come back to let us know how it went. In the meantime, stay off Google as you'll worry yourself over things that probably don't even apply. Also ditch the self-tests because they're useless and will contribute to further needless anxiety. Take care.
 

petlover

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Hi folks. So I called the clinic where my old doctor practiced, and they got me in to see someone else. He just kind of scratched his head, asked me if I'd suffered sexual abuse as a child (ummmm. . . . no, but thanks for asking), and then did ANA, sed rate, and calcium level tests. All were normal. When he had the nurse call to tell me my test results, she said to come back in a few weeks if I didn't feel better. I would really prefer to be evaluated by a neurologist. Should I just ask him to refer me? He told me that there are no "syndromes" that involve muscle twitching and cramps in the hands and feet. And he didn't even examine me.

I am a little peeved about the situation. As a bit of background info . . . I am a woman in my early 50's. I have a PhD in Neuroscience, and am a professor at a local institution. I feel that, had I been a man with a similar occupational and educational background, the Dr. would have AT LEAST taken the time to examine me. I don't know. Maybe I'm being overly sensitive, but there seems to be an automatic assumption than any woman of a "certain age" with anything muscular is obviously stressed, anxious, etc. Perhaps that is exactly what is wrong, but it seems prudent to at least consider that there may be an organic issue.

K, now I've vented. Thanks for listening, LOL!

PS - there is an ALS clinic at our local teaching University, so that's definitely a plus.
 

ottawa girl

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Gosh- not a good experience. Seems to me you would need a complete and thorough physical- seeing you haven't had one in many years. If I were you, I'd find myself another physician... a female... of a certain age. I have one of those, and she's an amazing clinician and compassionate healer. (yep she's very upset at my diagnosis.. cuz she can't fix it.) AND she's never asked me if I suffered abuse as a child. GEESH!
 

petlover

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Thanks, Elaine. It really did bother me. I found it rather condescending. I teach a TON of pre-med students, and I look at some of them and think . . . . oh dear. Someday they will be dealing with patients. Heaven help us, LOL!
 

fitzroy

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Yep, I'd focus on getting a GP on board that you are comfortable with and then pursue any referrals you might need together with her. For what it's worth, I've had a number of similar issues as you. My feet and hands continue to worsen, but it's extremely slow and we are biding time at this point as it seems we might finally be ahead of the systemic inflammation.
 

petlover

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Thanks, Fitzroy. And I hope that you are able to start feeling better.
 

mysticunicorn66

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See a GP. If they can't get to the bottom of it, ask for a referral to a neuro dr (preferably one that has dealt with patients with MND at a bare minimum and preferably one who has treated patients with ALS. That way, proper tests can be run to rule out other things. Just from personal experience, my sister's GP had no experience with having a patient that ALS, however he was very accommodating in referring my sis to a neuro dr at a teaching hospital who ran lots of tests on her and told us that she did have ALS. That dr also set up up with appts at the ALS Clinic (also in the teaching hospital once per month). My sister lost her battle a year ago on 12/7.
 

petlover

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Hi all. Mystic, I am sorry that I didn't reply to your post sooner. I think your advice is sound. I am really sorry about your sister. That had to be really hard.

I have an appointment on Jan 2nd with a female GP who comes highly recommended from a friend. Hopefully she will be able to figure out what's going on, or at least point me in the right direction.

In the interim, I could use some practical advice from anyone who may be able to give it - for the past several days, I have been getting cramps/spasms in my jaw and neck. When it happens in my feet and hands, I can kind of stretch and rub the muscle and get some relief, but don't seem to be able to do the same in my jaw and neck area. Any tips or hints? It isn't particularly painful in my jaw . . . the muscle just feels really tight and it is as if my mouth is being pulled to one side. When it happens in my neck, however, it's in the muscle that is kind of in the front and to the side, and it hurts like a SOB.

Anyhoo, any helpful hints would be greatly appreciated. And I hope everyone is having a great holiday.
 
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