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Benign Fasciculation Syndrome.

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I've had some recent muscle twitches (since October of last year) that I suspect at this point to be BFS instead of something more alarming (though I am working with my primary care physician). However, for a time I was quite worried about ALS. However, it's over 5 months now, and no weakness at all, just occasional twitching that comes and goes, I have full control of movement, it stops when I am exercising, etc., so I am less concerned about this than I was originally.

Previously after hurting my shoulder and neck, I had some TENS unit therapy via a therapist (this would have been June/July last year). I also have my own TENS-based unit I use occasionally (a few times a year...maybe 6 total) for relaxation (and if I'm being honest, sometimes stimulation, always below the waist).

There is no direct time correlation between the twitching and the TENS usage; in other words, it didn't start right after a session of this or anything. I just want to make sure there's no risk of TENS electrotherapy being a cause of neurodegenerative diseases such as ALS or MS. I saw one fairly fringe person (see http://sammilham.com/Amyoptrophic%20lateral%20sclerosis%20(Lou%20Gehrig's%20disease)%20and%20electric%20currents.pdf) propose TENS therapy in athletes as a possible cause of the higher number of cases of ALS in athletic people, but I haven't seen this suggested by anyone else, and he doesn't really use any data - it's just a hypothesis. I want to make sure this isn't a risk factor of something down the line.

Thanks much!


Category: Neurologist, Medical

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Category: Pediatric Neurologist
Dr. Sudhir Kumar is online now

Expert:  Dr. Sudhir Kumar replied 4 Days.

Hi,

Thank you for posting your query.

I have noted your symptoms and can understand your concern.

However, I would like to reassure you and wish to inform you that I agree with you that your symptoms are suggestive of benign fasciculation syndrome (BFS) and not amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). As you mentioned, in ALS, there would be weakness and thinning (wasting) of muscles associated with muscle twitchings (fasciculations). Also, the symptoms would have progressively worsened if it was ALS.

Also, I agree with you that TENS therapy would not increase the risk of getting ALS in the future.

I hope it helps. I would be pleased to answer any follow up queries.

Best wishes,

Dr. Sudhir Kumar MD (Medicine), DM (Neurology)


Patient replied :

Thanks much for your thoughtful and reassuring reply! So you don't feel like TENS usage has any relation (even to the BFS) or increases my risk of any neurological issues in the future and is safe for me to continue using going forward? Thanks again!


Expert:  Dr. Sudhir Kumar replied 3 Days.

Hello,
TENS usage has no relation to BFS and will not increase the risk of neurological issues in the future. You can continue using it.

Take care.
Thankyou


Dr. Sudhir Kumar
Category: Pediatric Neurologist
Experience: 
Senior Residency, Fellowship: DM, Neurology, CMC, Vellore, 2001
Junior Residency: MD, Internal Medicine, CMC, Vellore, 1998
Medical School: MBBS, Christian Medical College, Vellore, 1995
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