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Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Message Board


Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Board Index


I am freaking out worried about my father in law. For about a month he's been complaining about an intermittent sharp pain in the buttock and the back of the thigh, which he says is eased by rest but gets numb after sitting awhile so he has to get up and walk around again. His general doctor said it sounded like sciatica, but he saw a neurologist last week who never even mentioned the word "sciatica." He did say that his reflexes were "not appropriate." What the heck does THAT mean?? He's going for an MRI this coming Monday, and they also recommended physical therapy. He hasn't mentioned any weakness or twitching or anything like that, just pain. He gets around pretty good, he's pretty active and they're always out going somewhere. He was recently in the hospital with chest pains. I don't know if that has anything to do with anything but they didn't even find a problem, just kept him for observation. He's 74 years old.

With anyone else I wouldn't think anything serious of it, but in this family ALS is genetic. His father had it, one sister had it, another sister recently died from it, and another sister who so far is not sick but is a carrier because 2 of HER sons have it (and with her it's probably only a matter of time...)

Now my father in law is scaring me. He's always had problems, but each time something comes up the first thing that comes to mind is you know what. (I have an anxiety disorder so I worry obsessively about everything whether rational or not). He's had circulation problems in the lower legs, possibly caused over time by radiation exposure during bomb testing in Nevada during the Korean war. He's had 2 surgeries over time to fix that, the most recent a couple years ago, now he says his leg hurts. From what I've read most sites say there is no pain or numbness associated with ALS but in reading various discussion boards people have said otherwise. I don't know what to think but I can't stop worrying myself into a frenzy.

One site says with familial ALS people are "typically" younger at onset, and sporadic cases are "typically" middle-age to older. Other family members with it have all been in their 40's and 50's. His sister that recently died was 71 when she was officially diagnosed, and died at 72. She went fast. Before the "official" diagnosis they said it was spinal stenosis - she was having back pain. Obviously they were wrong. FIL is having pain in or near the lower back. I also thought ALS symptoms started in the farthest extremeties and worked its way in (starting in the hands and/or feet, not the thighs).

Does this sound like ALS could be a possibility or am I just making myself all frazzled over nothing?





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