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Not typical, but can pain be an initial symptom?


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Old 04-11-2005, 01:36 PM   #1
laurajh
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Not typical, but can pain be an initial symptom?

I am very worried. My father in law for about 2 months now has been having pain in the back of his thigh. It's not constant pain, it's relieved by rest but if he tries to do too much he says it hurts. He has also mentioned occasional numbness. He is pretty active, not vigorous exercise, but always going places and doing something. He is 75. He hasn't mentioned any weakness or twitching, just pain in the thigh. His general doctor is the one who referred him to the neurologist thinking it might be sciatica, and he DID have sciatica once before which had cleared up on its own. I'm no expert but it doesn't sound like sciatica to me because the pain is tolerable and I though sciatica was constant, not intermittent, and not alleviated by rest.

He had an MRI (no results yet until his upcoming appointment this coming Friday), and the neurologist did say his reflexes are normal on one side, less so on the other. That's what scares me the most.

With anyone else I probably wouldn't think much of it, but in his family ALS is genetic. His father had it, 2 of his sisters, and another sister who is not affected yet (knock wood) but we know she's a carrier because 2 of HER sons have it. So now every time my father in law has pain of any sort my anxieties immediately go through the roof. He has had arterial circulation problems in the leg twice (and had surgery twice) and I was freaking out over that too until they said it was vascular.

I've read that it's highly unusual for ALS to first present itself at such a late age (75), but then again one of his sisters that had it was 70 when it hit (and died 3 months short of turning 72) so that theory sort of goes out the window. I've also read that pain is not typical, at least not until muscle wasting which causes cramps is well under way. He has no noticeable weakness or wasting. I've also read that symtoms typically start distally, such as in the hands or feet and work their way in...not starting in a thigh. One other thing I've also learned by reading is that you can't count on anything when it comes to this rotten disease.

He has been going to physical therapy for a few weeks, being hooked up to a stimulator for 15 minutes 3 times a week but he says it hasn't helped. EMS or TENS (I'm not sure exactly which it is) is used to stimulate muscles or nerves and is said to alleviate pain. Friday is his next neuro appointment and I'm scared of what will come of it.

Am I being irrational in my fears or am I getting myself all frazzled over nothing?

Pain in the thigh with diminished reflex in a 75 year old....no noticeable weakness or wasting, no twitching. Only pain. Not a "typical" symptom from what I've heard, but there is a definite risk of having inherited a screwy gene.

I'd like to hear others' opinions and hopefully tell me I'm just out of my mind

 
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Old 04-12-2005, 06:16 AM   #2
laurajh
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Re: Not typical, but can pain be an initial symptom?

I was wrong about the numbness, there is no numbness only pain. And the pain only comes on after he's been walking too much. He wakes up feeling pretty good in the morning, no trouble sleeping, but after getting out and walking for too long he says the pain comes on and can get sharp.

 
Old 04-12-2005, 10:50 AM   #3
sawyer26
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Re: Not typical, but can pain be an initial symptom?

just curious, is your father-in-law on any cholesterol lowering drugs...

 
Old 04-12-2005, 04:01 PM   #4
laurajh
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Re: Not typical, but can pain be an initial symptom?

He doesn't have a cholesterol problem so he's not on that type of medication, but he does take Coumadin for circulatory problems, and is also on a diauretic of some sort (I don't know the name of it) and has recently had the dosage lowered. As far as I know that's all he's taking.

 
Old 04-12-2005, 06:51 PM   #5
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Re: Not typical, but can pain be an initial symptom?

Coumadin, that's a blood thinner isn't it... I have a friend, Terry, he's 60ish...has getting horrible pains in his lower back and at time it extends to the back of his thighs... no diagnosis yet... however, his neuro has ruled out ALS... he is seeing a rheumatologist soon with hope of finding out what he has...if I find out anything else I'll pass it along...

 
Old 04-12-2005, 06:53 PM   #6
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Re: Not typical, but can pain be an initial symptom?

sorry, forgot to mention... Terry is also on coumadin...though I don't know how long he has been taking it...

 
Old 04-13-2005, 04:00 AM   #7
laurajh
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Re: Not typical, but can pain be an initial symptom?

It IS a blood thinner, yes. He's been taking it for at least 10 years.

 
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