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  • trigger points or worse? motor neuron disease?

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    Old 09-05-2010, 06:56 PM   #1
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    trigger points or worse? motor neuron disease?

    I've read may books about trigger points over the last six years. I can feel them in my neck and forearms (almost everywhere, but those are the worst). I had some success with self-massage, using a rubber ball and so on, but there is always a point I can't break through. I've had weakness in my right hand and lack of lateral movement in my right fingers for seven years, and I can feel the same trigger points in my left, but I've avoided aggravating them as badly. My neck has been stiff since high school wrestling (I'm 30 now) and I've long assumed the many neck trigger points I have (scalene, traps, sternos) had started a chain reaction into my arms.

    But I have recently been diagnosed with a "motor neuron disease," which if you don't know means ALS or one of its cousins, and is a death sentence.

    The strange thing is that my symptoms haven't been noticeably progressing in years, and the things I've read about trigger points have sounded so much like me. I can feel a big knot in my right forearm, but I just can't get it out. Tried acupuncture, massage, osteopaths and so on.

    Recently I went to a neurologist and the EMG says I have fasciculations, fibrillationsin and denervation in every arm muscle, and scarce fibs in one lower leg, nothing in my tongue (they didn't check anything else). They say I have a motor neuron disease. So I'm desperately looking for a false diagnosis. The muscles in my right hand have atrophied.

    I'm trying not to be in denial, but my symptoms have progressed so slowly that it would be an unusual case of ALS or MND from what I understand. I'm posting in the ALS forums also, but I'm wondering if anyone here knows whether chronic trigger points can cause such EMG results: deneveration, fasciculations, fibrillations.

    Thank you.

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    Old 09-06-2010, 11:26 AM   #2
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    Re: trigger points or worse? motor neuron disease?

    just a very quick question here, esp since this has been ongoing and you WERE actually a wrestler at one time too(wrestlers can simply suffer some pretty significant neck injuries, esp over time, like years of doing it)? have any of the docs you have seen for these ongoing symptoms ever actually done a really good contrasted c spine MRI to simply rule out or in the very MOST common reasons for what your ongoing symptoms have been?

    an EMG/NCV ONLY tells you that you have abnormal nerve flow velocity, and NOT an actual real solid 'dx' for it? the areas of impact need to be found to see what IS creating the issues/symptoms? and most likely place would be the c spine and even possible cord contact of some kind just given your symptomology? did they actually run the EMG testing all the way up to your actual c spine level? and just so you know, not all spinal probelms will just simply always even show themselves upon even a good contrasted MRI either? it all depends on alot of different factors. but there are much deeper scans availiabe if that is needed too.

    but knowing whether or not they have actually done that needed MRI would help alot. and if they did, if you could actually type out the summary findings that are on that back page it would help tons, and done word for word as the rad wrote it too? hopefully for your sake, this is something other than what they think it is. ya just never know til ALLLL the appropriate types of real testing gets done that rules out or in other things given the patients symptoms. marcia
    3-22-01,herniated C-6-7
    11-20-01,placement of hardware for failed fusion
    9-22-03,removal of cavernous hemangioma that was inside spinal cord. Neuro damage to L hand L leg and R leg.

    Old 09-06-2010, 12:23 PM   #3
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    Re: trigger points or worse? motor neuron disease?

    Thanks Marcia. This is one of the most encouraging things I've heard. I know you can't promise me anything, but if I understand, you are saying that
    a chronic neck problem could result in fibs and fascis and denervation in my arms as shown in an EMG?

    My MRI was a cervical without contrast. I have the writeup here, but it's in Spanish (I live in Buenos Aires.), so I'll translate it, though I'm not an expert at all, and I don't know whether some of these medical terms are going to make sense.

    "Explored the region that was requested by weighing the tissue relaxation times T1 and T2.
    Records were obtained in axial and sagittal planes.

    Rectification of physiological cervical lordosis.

    Signs uncoartrosis disk level C5-C6 disc protrusion associated with minimal medial and posterior apophyseal osteoarthritis.

    There were no other significant disc protrusions.

    The spinal cord morphology and signal is within normal limits."

    I can type up the full EMG writeup if you are interested in that too.

    Okay, here's some more on the background of what I've been thinking for years had lead to my hand weakness: I was never really naturally inclined to sports, I was always really skinny, a slow runner, so I'm sure my neck wasn't prepared for the beatings it would take. And when I started wrestling I wanted to be tough. I never missed a practice, even a drill in practice, or a match. There were days I sat in class all day in intense neck pain, not able to turn my head at all, then I'd go to practice and have my head wrenched around for three hours. After one match I couldn't hold my head up, I had to hold it up with my hands. But it didn't hurt, the muscles just weren't working. Plus wrestlers are starving and dehyrdrating themselves, which is probably not good either.

    I used to get what I think is "tennis elbow," while wrestling, and also if I threw a football about fifteen or twenty times, my arm strength would just plummet. I think it ached a little, and maybe felt slightly numb, but mostly was just a loss of strength, for hours or days. I got brutal shin splints when running too. I'd been thinking over the years that maybe I had some fundamental flaw in my tendons, leading to tendinitis, then when I realized I'm stacked with trigger points I thought that I might be especially inclined to trigger points, maybe my cells don't clear out waste well or something (I have a lot of vague theories like this.) And that my neck had precipitated an an avalanche of trigger points down my arms.

    I had had some forearm cramps and various twitches for years, then when my hands started to go I had just started playing guitar for a month, and was playing many hours a day, not knowing anything about rest, stretching or posture. I was also lifting weights or boxing (with bags, not getting punched) everyday. My neck was always sore, and sometimes would really hurt, but I wouldn't skip workouts.

    I haven't worked out in years, since my hands (mostly right) got weak, and in the last few years I've learned how to massage my neck with knuckles to keep it from locking up (spasms, I think, it's pretty intense and will last a week, and it used to be about one week per month I couldn't turn my head) as often as it used to.

    I know this is really long, but I hope it's interesting since it's a strange case (of something) in my opinion. I'm going to put a few weird stories down here and hope they mean something to someone.

    I've been chronically depressed much of my life, and stressed, and my neck definitely reacts to that. I usually ignore body problems for way too long. Two other things about my neck, when I was 13 I got in a fight with my older brother, and my chin came down as his knee was going up. My chin was black and blue, swollen, but my parents didn't take me to the doctor. After the swelling came down I noticed that a piece of bone had broken off my chin and attached to a spot next to it, so my chin is slightly crooked. I assumed that's what happened, it sure feels like bone. And there is still the bump, it's easy to feel, about pea-sized. Anyway, sometime in my mid-teens my jaw starting hurting, clicking on one side, and if I opened up my mouth wide to brush my tongue or at the dentist, it might feel like it was dislocated on one side, it was excruciating, and I'd have to pop it back it place. But I never mentioned it to anyone. I did some jaw exercises, avoided opening my mouth too wide, and it stopped popping out, but it still clicks on the left side, and I get jaw tension, though that's one of the places I've had decent success massaging the tension out. And from what I've learned over the years tension in the jaw and neck muscles is closely related.

    And then when I was 19 I got in a car wreck, head on, wasn't noticeably injured, no doctors, but I think I did have some whiplash. My neck had never felt right since wrestling so I wasn't sure how much of the stiffness was new.

    Okay, here is something else really weird I've never been able to figure out. Shortly after my forearms starting getting weak and then burning 7+ years ago, I got what I would call boils, first on the middle of my outer right forearm (the first arm to get weak and burn) and then just as that was healing I got another near my left elbow. From what I understand boils come from ingrown hairs, and I'm hairy but I've never had anything else like that. At the time I didn't put the two issues together. I remember my mom even saying maybe these things were related, and I disregarded it. Over the years, researching trigger points and repetitive stress injuries, and other things, I've never heard of something like that. But I've wondered if the burning in my arms meant a buildup of toxins and my body was trying to purge it through boils. They were open holes, I had to bandage them up because they wouldn't scab, and I squeezed a ton of pus out of them. I'd stand over the sink squeezing for twenty minutes, pus and blood. They each took about a weak to heal. It would be a weird coincidence if the boils and forearm weakness/burning were separate, though I haven't found any medical theory to support my experience. And that gives me no clue as far as MND because I don't know if it means anything relevant at all.

    Thanks again Marcia.

    Old 09-06-2010, 08:04 PM   #4
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    Re: trigger points or worse? motor neuron disease?

    Oh yeah, Marcia, they only did the EMG from hands to shoulders, tongue, and lower legs.

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