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Has chest cold, heavy legs, weakness, shivers. Is this viral? Can it be ALS?

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Practicing since : 2001
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My mother has been experiencing cold symptoms for about a week. She had a fever, which is now gone, and has a chest cold. The doctor ruled out pneumonia. Her legs feel heavy and she is weak. Her hands started shaking this week and she went to the ER. Blood work, CT scan, EKG and chest xray all came back fine. Could this be part of the virus she is fighting? She automatically thinks she has ALS and is really scared.

Her hands mostly only shake when she is doing something like putting on make up or trying to type. It has been going on for about 3 days now.
Posted Tue, 22 May 2012 in Brain and Spine
Answered by Dr. Shiva Kumar R 4 hours later

Thanks for the query

From the clinical details provided to me it looks to me like she is suffering from post infective neuromuscular syndrome. Possibilities could be transient neurological problems like demyelinating neuropathy or a viral myositis. These are not the classical symptoms of ALS & I am sure she is not suffering from this degenerative disease.

Tremors in the hand (postural tremors) could be due to exaggeration of underlying physiological tremor due to weakness. Other common causes of postural tremors are demyelinating neuropathy and essential tremor (hereditary).

So I personally feel your mother is suffering from some form of post-infective neuromuscular disease which needs to confirmed. It can even just be post viral myalgia which is likely to improve in a week or two. If symptoms persists or increase in severity you need to see your Neurologist for good clinical examination and consultation.

I thank you again for submitting your question. I hope you find my response to be both helpful and adequate. If you have any additional concerns regarding your question I would be happy to address them.


Dr Shiva Kumar R
Consultant Neurologist & Epileptologist
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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