Does your thigh muscle twitch like thump thump thump!?
Whether your thigh muscle twitching is continuous, periodic, just a flutter or a real thumper, perhaps you’re freaking out that you might have ALS, since ALS sites list muscle twitching as a symptom of this disease.
So there you are with that twitching thigh muscle, wondering if you’ll be dead in two years.
There are perhaps thousands of people sitting in that boat right with you, worried sick over their twitching thigh muscles, wondering if they’ll be alive two years from now.
If you have a twitching thigh muscle, whether the twitch occurs many times per minute, or a few times per hour, every day or occasionally throughout each month, the chances of this being ALS are next to nothing — if not absolutely nothing …
… as long as you are walking fine; getting out of chairs fine; and are not stumbling or dragging a leg.
“Muscles may randomly twitch for many reasons,” points out Carolyn Dean, MD, ND. She is a medical advisory board member of the Nutritional Magnesium Association at nutritionalmagnesium.org.
“They can twitch due to anxiety or stress, a sleepless night, too much coffee or after exercise.”
In ALS, you may have read that the twitching comes after muscle weakness, but online information is not definitive on this.
However, the muscle weakness of ALS isn’t something that you’d have to wonder if you had; i.e., struggling to get one’s legs up a flight of stairs certainly means something is very wrong.
ALS weakness is obvious without having to perform strength tests like seeing how long you can stand on one leg, especially if it’s affecting a thigh muscle.
I recall watching the Jerry Lewis Telethon several years ago, and a victim of ALS was describing the onset of his earliest symptom. He said it was muscle weakness, and it was literally overnight.
The man said he went out to jog and couldn’t do it. Now THAT’S pronounced muscle weakness.
This should alleviate your fears that any very subtle weakness in your thigh (or rather, what you perceive to be subtle weakness) is the beginning of ALS.
In other words, it’s far more likely to mean something else.
When I was a personal trainer, I had clients all the time who had “weakness” in their thighs, which was corrected with exercise.
Another thing to consider:
- ALS weakness does not come and go.
- It does not switch on and off.
“Weakness from ALS is generally progressive, says Mitzi J. Williams, MD, clinical neurologist with Morehouse School of Medicine, an MS specialist and clinical advisor for the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation.
Dr. Williams explains, “There could potentially be mild fluctuations, but there should not be dramatic fluctuations in symptoms for prolonged periods of time.”
Ask yourself if your “weakness” comes and goes in more than a mild sense.
And when the weakness is not there, don’t be surprised if during those times your mind is on something else! It’s there only when you’re obsessing about it.
Another cause of thigh muscle twitching is anxiety over unrelated matters.
Anxiety causes all sorts of physical symptoms, of which muscle twitching is one.
Furthermore, worrying about the twitching can make it persist or “spread” to other parts of the body.
A motor neuron disease does not spread body-wide in only minutes.
“Sometimes magnesium deficiency can lead to muscle twitching, so replacement of magnesium or other electrolytes can help alleviate the symptoms,” says Dr. Williams.
Lack of water intake can also fire up thigh muscle twitching.
Next time your thigh muscle is twitching, move it and see what happens. If you are seated, move the leg back and forth. The twitching will probably stop.
Should you find yourself performing strength tests like seeing if you can lift out of the chair with one leg, be assured that this is inherently difficult to do, and your other leg will have just as much trouble.
If you had ALS, you’d have difficulty performing everyday routine movements, rather than just a gut feeling or sensation of weakness.
Twitching in your thigh muscle is generally caused by exercise, and the twitching can have a 1-2 day delay from the onset of the exercise. Here’s what Kevin Plancher, MD, says about exercise and fasciculations.
Dr. Dean, in practice for 35+ years and author of “The Magnesium Miracle,” is also a naturopath, nutritionist, herbalist, acupuncturist, lecturer and consultant.