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Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Message Board

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Board Index

ALS symptoms?
Sep 23, 2003
Giving you some background...I have been through a lot of stress in my life. My husband was working in another state for 10 months, while I was at our home, trying to sell our house. It was a VERY stressful time. His job was being threatened--we had 10 months of the unknown.

We finally sold the house, and I moved to the new state with my husband and kids. The house we moved into was filthy. So, I scrubbed like you wouldn't believe. Was on my hands and knees with a scrub brush, scrubbing the floors for hours (leaning the scrub brush on the inside of my wrists/palm, getting the embedded dirt out).

Then, I started unpacking. I bent over to pick up a box (I didn't actually touch the box yet), and it felt like one side of my face went numb, and slid off of my face. I ran to the mirror. My facial expressions were fine. The numbness only lasted for about 20 seconds.

A few days after that, I had numb arms and legs and tingling, which prompted a visit to my doctor. He did some initial blood test, which came back normal. I read some stuff on the internet, and started recognizing more symptoms that I had being right on with MS and ALS. The muscle cramps in hands and legs, and twitching. (by the way, I have not done any moving of things, or exercising during this time, so it isn't muscle stress). The numbness comes and goes, but the tightness in hands and legs are always there. The pain in hands gets worse when typing, writing, etc. My hands also get very cold and stiff at times. I also have occasional pain in my joints (elbows, knees, and back) I had an MRI for brain and spine, which came back normal except for, and I quote, "normal brain". No MR findings suggestive of MS. For my spine, it said at C4-5, shallow broad midline disc herniation contacts the spinal cord, but does not indent it. And at C5-6, a shallow broad midline HNP only mildly indents the thecal sac. Whatever the hell that means, but the doctor said that cannot cause my symptoms, so it is a normal MRI.

I can't eat or sleep because I am sure this is ALS, and I have two small children. I don't want to die this young! I am only 34 years old. I cry a lot, and am anxious a lot. I have lost 10 pounds in the last month. My primary doctor prescribed Xanax, and I have been just taking that at night to sleep, but not during the day because I have my babies to care for. Just moving in the area, I have no family or friends to lean on. I have an appointment with a neurologist next week.

Sorry to give my personal life story, but I am just so anxious and afraid. I am hoping stress can cause some of these symptoms, but from what I read, it is doubtful.

Do you have any information on health care, if the patient is unmarried, unable to work, in a situation where there is a debilitating disease? My husband is wonderful, but he can barely take care of the house and kids for an hour if I am not home. I can't see him with the patience to take care of a sick wife, two toddlers, working a job, etc. I want to divorce him if this is something bad, so that he can find a new wife so that my children will be loved and cared for. But then, what happens to me? Do they have special care homes?

Sorry this is so depressing. But, this is where I am at right now.

Re: ALS symptoms?
Sep 23, 2003
I also have had anxiety about ALS. My grandfather died from ALS seven years ago. I have been having pain in my right arm, which is similar to the early symptoms that my grandfather had. I was really worried and then I started to have twitching and cramping in my trapezius.
My wife has been seeing a physical therapist and she told him about my symptoms. He thinks that I have a pinched nerve in my arm caused by weightlifting and the fact that my right shoulder is out of place from an old injury. He said that it will not get better without treatment even if I stop using it.
I think that the muscle twitching I have had is due to anxiety because it seems to happen when I am under stress or when I think about it.
If it makes you feel better, as far as I know numbness is not a symptom of ALS. ALS affects the voluntary motor nerves, not the sense of touch. With all the stress you've been under, you may be suffering from anxiety too. I would suggest you see a neuromuscular specialist. You may just have a pinched nerve that was aggrevated by physical activity (all that scrubbing) and it may not get better with rest alone.
So go see a specialist and try not to worry in the mean time. You are relatively young and female, which makes it unlikely that you have ALS.


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