There IS a way to conquer the perceived weakness and ALS terror that comes from twitching muscles.
If you suffer from perceived weakness from benign fasciculation syndrome (muscle twitching accompanied by other symptoms), then you need a way to overcome this problem.
Perceived weakness can be crippling — from a psychological standpoint.
But if you know how to manage perceived weakness and benign fasciculation syndrome, you can conquer this hell-hole of anxiety and fear.
Benign fasciculation syndrome is a mouthy term that simply means: harmless muscle twitching accompanied by other harmless symptoms.
The word benign means harmless or won’t get worse; fasciculation means twitching muscles; and syndrome means the presence of more than one symptom.
If all of this is benign and harmless, then why would there be overwhelming anxiety?
Well, if you’ve gotten to this article, you already know why.
For other people who clicked on this article out of curiosity over the title, I will explain why perceived weakness is a horrible problem, and how it’s triggered by benign fasciculation syndrome or twitching muscles.
Muscle twitching is so common, that tons of people end up doing Internet searches on the keywords of muscle twitching. Invariably, this leads them to ALS sites.
ALS is an incurable, fatal disease, and muscle twitching is one of its symptoms. So is muscle weakness.
A person with a harmless case of twitching muscles may then worry he or she has ALS.
Benign fasciculation syndrome — a very common condition – The worry becomes so magnified and intense, that the muscle twitching gets worse, “spreads” to other body parts, and new symptoms appear: muscle weakness, muscle cramping and tingling.
However, in benign fasciculation syndrome, muscle cramping, and tingling in the fingertips and toes, are often present.
These may occur for no known reason, or may occur from the anxiety of fearing that the muscle twitching is a sign of ALS.
Benign fasciculation syndrome — can appear overnight when fueled by anxiety – When a person learns that in ALS, muscle twitching comes after muscle weakness, they then suddenly start perceiving muscle weakness.
Because this muscle weakness is only imagined, it’s known as perceived weakness.
A person may eventually get past his or her fear of twitching muscles, but then become consumed by recurring bouts of perceived weakness.
The perceived weakness may keep popping up in the same area, or, it may be in different areas each time.
In benign fasciculation syndrome, perceived weakness can be anywhere.
However, a person may suffer ONLY from perceived weakness, with no other physical symptoms. Common sites for perceived weakness are:
For this article I consulted with Howie Zheng, MD, a general neurologist with The Neurology Center at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, Maryland. Dr. Zheng explains:
“There is a big difference between ‘perceived’ or subjective muscle weakness and true loss of muscle strength.
“For instance, if you feel like you’re feeling increasingly tired walking up a hill or up the steps it may not be due to true muscle weakness as even common things like cardiac and pulmonary issues can give you that impression.
“In a great majority of ALS patients, the muscle becomes weak to the point where it gives out.
“They usually come in with a presentation that the muscle is weak to the point that they are falling while going up the stairs for instance.”
Benign fasciculation syndrome — besides anxiety, can be caused by mineral imbalance, dehydration, calcium deficiency, and strenuous exercise.
If you are plagued by this form of hypochondria, keep a journal. It need not be lengthy.
Just record when you get hit with the perceived weakness, and its location. Over time, you’ll notice that you’ve had PW in the same spot, which comes and goes.
Seeing this pattern will be reassurance that all is well, because in ALS, its muscle weakness is permanent; there is no coming and going! Once it’s there, it’s there to stay.
So if two weeks ago, you finally got over some perceived weakness in your left arm, and now, suddenly, the PW has returned, then remind yourself that for the past two weeks, all has been normal.
In ALS, there is no such thing as a sudden period of normalcy after clinical muscle weakness develops.
Pay attention to how the area feels when you begin fixating on it. Imprint that feeling in your mind.
Invariably, the PW of that area will eventually disappear. But if it returns, ask yourself, “Isn’t this the exact same feeling I had before?
Yet, nothing came of it; it never got worse, and it disappeared. I’ve HAD this BEFORE. It went away.”
Realizing that it went away will reassure you that it’s only PW, and nothing pathological. When you can say, “I’ve had this before,” then this will help get you back on track.