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Dr. Andrew Rynne
Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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Are numbness in the hands and twitching in the calf muscles symptoms of multiple sclerosis?

Answered by
Dr. Erion Spaho

Neurologist, Surgical

Practicing since :2004

Answered : 3702 Questions

Posted on Fri, 16 Sep 2016 in Brain and Spine
Question: yes- I'm a 55 year old Male, and for 6-8 months or more I have had continuous twitching/fasciculations in both of my calf muscles. I didnt think much about it until I looked it up on the internet, saw it could be BFS, which seems livable, or could be much worse,.. and now it has my attention. I went to my general practitioner who did a blood panel and determined it wasn't a metabolic imbalance. I have an initial neurologic consult scheduled as a result, but that isn't available until mid-october, and the more I'm reading about this online, the more frightened I'm becoming about having MS or ALS or something severe. I do also have tingling/numbness in my hands as well, it comes and goes, but is present as much as not,. and the occasional tingling on my tongue.

Are there any "self-tests" i can try while waiting to see the neurologist that could perhaps give me some peace of mind? and/or what are signs beyond the fasciculations I should be aware of, or look for, which may be clues as to my situation? what is the likely hood/percentages this is BFS versus something more? could waiting until october be harmful in the long run?

I also have a bulged disk - C4 or 5, I believe- in my neck , any chance thats related?

I had submitted this question on this website earlier- received an answer- wanted to follow up, but response time expired, so I am resubmitting the question above - with my follow up info here: The tingling in my arms/hands has subsided some, but i still have it. I felt like I had a little more 'stinging/burning' tingles for a few days- more like a sunburn can feel, but those lasted a few days and subsided, though I felt them all over my body- in random patterns/places, not just my hands and arms. I occasionally have tingling in my feet/calves, but it's much more rare than my hands- and it's usually bi lateral in my hands- though it can alternate from left to right. Back to my fasciculating calves - I have been trying stretching exercises for my hamstrings and calves, which often result in my calves cramping pretty quickly, pretty badly. is this related to the fasiculations? could it be a sign of something more? I am also experiencing muscle cramping in other body parts- particularly if i get in a stretching situaiton, or put a load on a muscle group. for instance, if i press my thumbs in towards my palms, like reaching the thumb toward the pinky finger i will get cramps in the pads under the thumbs in like 30 seconds, I can stretch them out and stop the cramps- but is this normal? while I don't think I have general balance issues, i have tried testing my balance, holding 1 foot off the floor behind me and balancing on 1 foot. I can do it, but I'm really noticing my balance foot/leg are working pretty hard. If i close my eyes- I lose my balance, and almost always I want fall to the right. is this important? Im also having a problem with my right shoulder and knee- in temrs of having some pain- which is kinda different, I guess, but maybe related, so wanted to mention those. I saw an ortho regarding the knee and shoulder- he did xrays and said there was some arthritis/bursitis viewable, gave me anti-inflammatory injections and some elastic-band exercises to do. I shoed him my fasiculating calves and he said- "that doesnt excite me-i dont think you have Parkinsons, or have had a stroke- get off the internet! funny- but not as helpful as Id like. Anyway, some days i do the elastic band exercises quite fluidly but other days my legs will burn and come really close to cramping- Im so freaked out now i cant tell if thats the normal muscle "burn" or something more. what are your thougts? Lastly- i have also noticed recently that my head/face can almost feel like i have a buzz, if that makes sense. i feel like im buzzing sometimes?? I drink more than i should-and daily- whiskey exclusively- about 1/2 gallon a week - is this possible a contributing factor?

guess Im still wondering if theres any sort of self test or exercises or anything I can do to help ease my mind and/or reverse these symptoms while I wait for my October Neurology exam? and moreover- do these symptoms necessarily point to MS/Parkinsons/ALS?,.. or do they point more toward BFS? or some other neuropathy? or are the cramping muscles and shoulder/ knee pain ( which is pretty mild- more stiffness than pain really) just a fact of getting old?

thanks for your consideration,
Answered by Dr. Erion Spaho 2 hours later
Brief Answer:
MS and ALS very unlikely.

Detailed Answer:
Hello and thanks for using HCM.

I have read your question and understand your concerns.

Your age is a factor against MS, symptoms you describe also are not typical of MS.

In my opinion, Parkinson's shouldn't be considered in your case.

To continue with ALS, unfortunately it is not possible to be self assessed about it, but you can consider matching your symptoms with these of early stages of ALS to ease your mind.

Early symptoms of ALS include difficulty walking and doing everyday activities, weakness of hands, feet, ankles, slurred speech, difficulty swallowing, muscles spasms and twitching in arms, shoulders etc. not just muscles twitching (fasciculations).

So, I don't think this is ALS neither.

In addition, you refer tingling in different parts of the body too, tingling is not a prominent feature of ALS, it is more likely caused by peripheral neuropathy.

The amount of alcohol you consume in a week is a moderate one, but, there are rare cases of peripheral nerves damage by small amounts of alcohol.

In addition, muscles calves burning sensation and near-cramping may be caused by increased amount of lactic acid in blood due to alcohol consumption.

Peripheral neuropathy may be caused by several other factors besides alcohol consumption, these include diabetes, viral infections, low vitamins B group, autoimmune diseases, side effects of drugs, heavy metals poisoning etc.

Disc bulge in neck doesn't not cause such symptoms.

BFS is a strong possibility and it is worsened by anxiety, so, try to be a little less anxious.

There are not specific exercises designed to these symptoms, so, exercises you describe could be continued if you feel some relief.

To conclude, in my opinion, BFS and peripheral neuropathy of mixed causes are most probable conditions that are causing your symptoms.

Neurologist evaluation and tests will give you the correct diagnosis and possible treatment ways.

Hope you found the answer helpful.

Let me know if I can assist you further.


Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Arnab Banerjee

The User accepted the expert's answer

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