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Benign fasciculation syndrome Overview
Benign fasciculation syndrome is a neurological disorder characterized by fasciculation (twitching) of various voluntary muscles in the body. Twitching can occur in any voluntary muscle group but is most common in the eyelids, legs, arms and feet. Even the tongue may be affected. The twitching can be occasional or may go on nearly continuously.
The intentional movement of the involved muscle causes the fasciculations to cease immediately but they may return when once the muscle is at rest again. These little spasms can happen anywhere in the body. They are distressing leading many people to have great anxiety about what is causing them. There may be other symptoms that accompany the twitching as well. And the good news is that BFS is completely benign. You can’t die from it nor does not progress to anything more serious.
No one really knows what causes BFS. Twitching suggests that damage or disruption has occurred to your nerves. This may have been due to a viral infection, strange immune system reaction or too much stress in your life. Whatever the cause there is no quick cure. Since this is not serious, not much effort is made to find a cure for BFS.
Symptom of benign fasciculation
The main symptom of benign fasciculation syndrome usually is focal or widespread involuntary muscle activity (twitching). Presenting symptoms of benign fasciculation syndrome may include:
- Fasciculations (Primary Symptom)
- Generalized fatigue
- Muscle pain
- Exercise intolerance
- Globus sensations
- Muscle cramping
Less common symptoms include:
- Muscle Stiffness
BFS symptoms are typically present when the muscle is at rest and are not accompanied by severe muscle weakness. In some BFS cases, fasciculations can “jump” from one part of the body to another. It could start in a leg muscle then in a few seconds jump to the forehead then the abdomen, etc.
While only one part of the body is affected at a time, a beat is missed as it jumps from one area to the next. The fasciculations can occur on the head this strongly suggests that the brain as a generator due to its exclusive non-dependence on the spinal cord. (Together brain and spinal cord comprise the central nervous system.)
Treatment of benign fasciculation
Some degree of control of the fasciculations may be achieved with the same medication used to treat essential tremor (beta-blockers and anti-seizure drugs). This often the most effective approach to treatment is to treat any accompanying anxiety. No supplements, drugs or other treatments have been found that completely control the symptoms. In this cases where fasciculations are caused by magnesium deficiency (medicine), supplementing magnesium can be effective in reducing symptoms.
In many cases, the severity of BFS symptoms can be significantly reduced through a proactive approach to decrease the overall daily stress. The most common ways to reduce stress include: exercising more, working less, sleeping more, meditation, and eliminating all forms of dietary caffeine (e.g. coffee, chocolate, cola, and certain over-the counter medications).
If pain or muscle aches are present alongside fasciculations, the patients may be advised to take over-the-counter pain medications such as Ibuprofen or Acetaminophen during times of increased pain. Some other forms of pain management may also be employed. Prior to taking over the counter medications, individuals should initiate discussions with their health care provider(s) to avoid adverse affects associated with long-term usage or preexisting conditions.