Minor Twitch in thumb has me worried

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Hello. Yesterday, my thumb was twitching without my input, and now I am anxious that I have CJD as I also had pins and needles for a brief moment in my hand (hadn't had any other tingling sensation since yesterday). 

So far, nothing has really changed apart from feeling very anxious due to death anxiety propping up on me again, which I believe has resulted in other very minor unintentional movements in calf muscle in legs. 

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  • Posted

    Hi Liam,

    Do you think you might be overreacting just a tad?wink

    I'm a former neuro nurse, albeit from way back when, and that doesn't sound remotely like CJD to me. I think you've been consulting Dr. Google a bit too much, especially as you've very honestly admitted that you suffer from health anxiety.

    We all get minor muscle twitches and tingling sensations from time to time. I suspect what's happened here is that you've just happened to notice these latest events and are now putting too much attention on them. As you quite rightly say, this can itself result in further muscle twitches.

    It sounds from what you say as if you've had anxiety-generated problems like this before. I wonder how you normally deal with them. Perhaps you could think back over these other attacks and use them to cope with the present one. I also wonder whether you're getting treatment for your health/death anxiety. CBT is usually the best option, but you do have to find a good practitioner. I'm afraid there are too many half-qualified people jumping on the CBT bandwagon these days.

    If you need further reassurance you could always consult your doctor - the real one, I mean - but there's always a risk that he/she will just reach for the prescription pad and put you on more medication.

    You're still very young - and a handsome fellow too if that's your photo on your avatar. (Don't worry, I'm well old enough to be your granny, so I'm allowed to say things like that to young men!cheesygrin) Try and address your health anxiety now while there's still time to stop it blighting your whole life.

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    • Posted

      Thanks for the reassurance Lily. I agree and will be looking into seeing a doctor during the week. Is it now day 3 from the twitching and nothing new happened. 

      With regards CJD, what would one expect during a given week when it comes to the development of symptoms?

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    • Posted

      Hi Liam,

      I was about to post, then saw that Nikki had very much taken the words out of my mouth. Like her, I'm sorry to be a bit blunt, but it's perfectly true that even if you had drawn the one-in-a-million short straw there'd be nothing you could do about it anyway as there's no cure. (This is the actual estimated incidence of CJD worldwide, not something I pulled out of a hat.)

      In fact it's highly unlikely that CJD would present initially with muscle twitches. In the vast majority of cases it starts quite abruptly with mental changes - severe memory loss (as opposed to absent-mindedness induced by anxiety), aggressive behaviour, delusions (again, not delusional fears about one's health) etc.

      You do not have CJD. Basically, all you need to do is wait a couple of weeks. If you did have it you'd already be seriously disabled by then, as it progresses very quickly. Most patients die within a few months, and it's unusual to survive even for a year.

      However, as we've both said, it might be helpful to see your doctor just to get some reassurance, and preferably a referral for CBT. But be careful about medication. Some GPs are a bit trigger-happy in prescribing powerful antipsychotic drugs for quite minor anxiety or depression. As Nikki rightly says - and she's speaking from experience - these drugs can in themselves cause a neurological condition (though not CJD of course) and are best avoided unless you're suffering from a full-blown psychiatric illness.

      In your current heightened state of anxiety it's quite normal that you're going to start noticing every tiny twitch or tingle. It's also likely that you're going to start hyperventilating. I used to do this during times of anxiety when I was young. It was only when I started training as a nurse that I figured out what was going on.

      When we get anxious, many of us hyperventilate unconsciously. We breathe too deeply and/or too quickly, but without being aware that we're doing it. This "rinses out" too much carbon dioxide from the body, rendering the blood slightly too alkaline. This in turn causes electrolyte imbalances in the body, the symptoms of which are mild dizziness, brain fog, tingling sensations in the fingers and lips, stiffening of the fingers and - if it goes on for long enough - muscle twitches and jerks.

      Alarming as all this sounds, it's perfectly harmless. Once things get bad enough the brain eventually steps in and sends our breathing back to normal. Same process as when you try to hold your breath - your brain won't let you damage yourself.

      Make that appointment with your doctor and please stop surfing the net for possible diagnoses. You really don't have CJD or any other neuro-degenerative disease.

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    • Posted

      You're right about the pointlessness of worrying about CJD. At this point, I'm doing exactly what you advise: waiting a couple of weeks to see what happens. The past few days have yielded no new symptoms at all so you are right so thank you for the advice and I will certainly see my GP about my anxiety problems. 

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  • Posted

    Hi Liam

    I had this anxiety about 15 years ago, and when the CJD scare was at its worst in the UK.

    It didn't do me any good whatsoever, and I certainly didn't develop CJD. Even if I had got it, there woudn'y be much anyone would be able to do about it, so my worries would be pointless (I'm sorry if that sounds like it is a pointless and unhelpful bit of advice, things always seem more logical when you don't have anxiety).

    Believe me, having had neurological problems from a head injury, post concussion syndrome and a drug induced movement disorder, I would give anything to have 'just' twitching and tingling. Ironically, when I had post concussion syndrome, it gave me very odd physical sensations that felt strange and were neurological. I had a breakdown from the anxiety of it and then I DID get a neurological condition after having medication for it. So my advice would be honestly, you DON'T have CJD. Please stop worrying. You will be fine.

    And please see your GP if you are very concerned, perhaps get some CBT or counselling, and go on antidepressants to help with your anxiety. You will get through this.

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  • Posted

    Lily's response is excellent and her advice is very good - she does know what she is talking about so you would be wise to listen! It is very easy to read too much into symptoms of anxiety and believe you have something much worse, but honestly - anxiety can cause actual physical changes in the body that are noticeable but certainly not neurologically abnormal.

    When I had my post concussion syndrome, I went back and forth to the doctor's to get some answers, and one even asked if I was worried about getting a neurological disease or condition. None of the doctors (apart from an out of hours one and another at A&E) diagnosed my concussion, but they were correct in saying that it was all in my head; just not only caused by anxiety. It was frustrating as no-one would believe me and every doctor just wanted to dish out antidepressants; which ironically if I had taken in the first place, would not have given me tardive dyskinesia... :-(

    Anyway, I'm not sure what my point here is - just to be happy you are healthy and well, and grateful you don't have anything like me. Mine is incurable and I hope it will improve with time, but I do get very sad knowing it could have all been avoided.

    Stay strong and well. :-)

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  • Posted

    Hey guys, good news, I went to the doctor today and they said that there was nothing wrong with me. Their explaination for the twitching was that it happens randomly. 

    Symptoms have improved as well. Yesterday I was kind of having a lot of tremors and was worried that it was getting worse, but during the night I decided to stay up and I was experiencing less tremors and I was able to use my laptop coherently, so I think people are right in that I don't have CJD. 

    Just one question because it relates to anxiety and I hope to get some counselling for the issue, but, is there a way to train your body to accept the fact that it will die in four weeks time. I ask this because I try to tell myself I'm going to die in four weeks due to the way Sporadic Ataxia CJD (VV2) works and I want to accept my fate as I journey towards non existence, but I don't know if repression is the only way of doing it. Please let me know. 

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    • Posted

      Dear Liam,

      It's not your body that needs training, it's your mind.

      We none of us know when we're going to die anyway. The only sure thing is that we are going to die. So in some sense it's good that we mentally prepare ourselves to accept this at any age. Most of us are "immortal" till the age of at least 30. It's just that the inevitability of death seems to have struck you at an earlier age, perhaps before you're ready for it, and you've focussed all your natural anxieties on your symptoms.

      I once talked to a doctor who'd served at the front in WWII, and was subsequently instrumental in setting up a world-famous cancer care centre. The centre also provided counselling on dealing with the approach of death. He told me that he used the same method he was taught on the battlefield. When you wake up every morning, acknowledge the fact that you're going to die, and then say: "But not today". So, that's a mixture of both acceptance and repression.

      In fact, it's not really even repression. It's a fact that the only moment any one of can ever experience is right now. We can be guided by what we've learned in the past, and we need to plan for the future, but there is only now, isn't there?

      I really do think you'd be helped by studying mindfulness. This is what CBT is all about (at least is should be when guided by a competent practitioner). However, you can do it yourself too. There are a lot of good books on the subect - especially the older ones, which were written before mindfulness suddenly became a commercial proposition.

      I'll get taken down if I start posting the names of books and authors here. If you like, I can send you a personal message with a few suggestions. PMs via this site don't transmit viruses or expose the email address of either party.

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    • Posted

      I like that advice and it is something that I hope to follow quite well in the future. 

      Symptoms have improved greatly today as well. Haven't had any headaches and using the laptop has been much easier in comparison to yesterday afternoon (where I could barely move the mouse due to tremors). 

      The only thing that does have me a little worried is that when I'm walking, I will walk normal for a time before my foot abruptly decides it doesn't want to lift up off the ground so there is a minor drag. Not sure if this is major or minor since it happened on my way to the doctors and during the evening I was hopping over rocks with ease. 

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