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Author Topic: Is cricopharyngeal spasm indicative of ALS?  (Read 407 times)

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Offline thenomnomnomicon

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Is cricopharyngeal spasm indicative of ALS?
« on: April 26, 2014, 03:23:14 PM »
I'm going to the ENT for a swallow test this coming week. Will they be able to tell if it is bulbar onset? I don't know much about the disease other than being terrified of it.

I had a clean EMG, but I read that particular onset doesn't necessarily show up, thus why I'm having a barium swallow.

22, M.


I've also been burping like, a lot. Constantly clear my throat after drinking. I *actually* do have some kind of sinus infection/strep which is exacerbating my fears. And when I swallow I have this air-bubbling type feeling in the back of my throat. I have twitching in my neck as well, but this started with twitching that encompassed my entire body and has now remitted to primarily my legs and throat.
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Offline thenomnomnomicon

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Re: Is cricopharyngeal spasm indicative of ALS?
« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2014, 03:59:54 PM »
Shameless bump
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Offline mollyfin

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Re: Is cricopharyngeal spasm indicative of ALS?
« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2014, 06:50:24 PM »
It's caused by anxiety. 

I don't mean to sound dismissive, but that's the known cause of this.  It's literally not a symptom of anything else.
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Offline ShawnW

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Re: Is cricopharyngeal spasm indicative of ALS?
« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2014, 07:07:30 PM »
This is a huge fear of many with HA.  Problems with the throat, perceptions of problems with swallowing, burping, tightness in the throat, dryness of mouth, speech issues, slurring of speech, clearing of throat etc are all possible complications of anxiety.  Once we begin to fixate on an area a couple things happen.  One is things we did naturally like speak or swallow become a problem...as we used to do these things unaware.  Now we have taken conscious control over automatic mechanisms and problems begin to arise.  Second is we notice things we didn't notice before like hissing S's, or articulation of certain words.

Clearing of the throat is almost always caused by one of three things...laryngophargeal reflux (very common in the anxious), post nasal drip, or just nervous habit.

Now, lets talk about your age group...22 yo would be an extremely unlikely age group to get the regular onset let alone a rarer onset.  I would guess somewhere in the neighborhood of 1 in 10 million. 

If you can say British Constitution and Pink Elephant...move your tongue around your teeth and tent your cheeks with your tongue you just passed a neurological exam for the mouth.

Twitching is very common in the anxious.  I twitch almost everywhere including my neck...had a nasty one last night as a matter of fact.

By all accounts this is likely anxiety with possibly some post nasal drip or reflux.  I suspect your barium swallow will come back just fine...and then you need to put this one to rest.

Sounds like you had an EMG, passed then began to doubt the test.  That is what we do.  Brother, life is too short to worry about worst case scenerios.  This worry you got is a real beast...worst than many of the HA worries.  You need to do what you need to do to get a grip on it before it eats you up.
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My insight, thoughts, experiences or advice that may be posted in this forum are not meant as a substitution for the advice of your physician.

Want to know how to address your anxiety?
http://www.anxietyzone.com/index.php/topic,93402.msg521266.html#msg521266

Offline tarvyo

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Re: Is cricopharyngeal spasm indicative of ALS?
« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2014, 11:12:21 PM »
Went through the same doubting the EMG but my twitching started all over when I went to hospital with tachycardia, ALS does certainly does not show itself like that, the twitching is normally not the first symptom and it is not all over, it's progressive, looking back on it I can't believe I put myself through the thought of it because of google. Now I just worry about my heart packing it in  :spineyes:
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Offline thenomnomnomicon

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Re: Is cricopharyngeal spasm indicative of ALS?
« Reply #5 on: April 27, 2014, 09:02:00 PM »
Follow up: So, there was *actually* something wrong (I do have hypochondriasis certainly, but it usually requires a trigger). I looked back through my bloodwork and realised I do have a bacterial infection (lymphocyte-neutraphil counts were abnormal, my temperature was also around 93 at this time). The twitching + paresthesia was incredibly acute and has been slowly diminishing. Somehow 11 ERs missed a bacterial infection. Some CNS inflammation or response to the infection is my best guess (probably exacerbated by anxiety). A part of me is still worried about the potential of something worse, but it's looking like this can be sufficiently explained by an infection that got way too far. I appreciate all the responses, still. I've also discovered badly swollen lymph nodes in my chest which could readily explain the shortness of breath.
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Offline thenomnomnomicon

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Re: Is cricopharyngeal spasm indicative of ALS?
« Reply #6 on: April 27, 2014, 09:05:31 PM »
I plan on pulling my ER bloodwork from last week tomorrow to confirm it's been a continuous infection (this started 5 weeks ago with an undiagnosed inner-ear infection -- vertigo, nausea, vomiting).
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Offline mollyfin

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Re: Is cricopharyngeal spasm indicative of ALS?
« Reply #7 on: April 27, 2014, 10:34:03 PM »
I would recommend bringing this all to a doctor's attention. 
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Offline thenomnomnomicon

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Re: Is cricopharyngeal spasm indicative of ALS?
« Reply #8 on: April 28, 2014, 10:04:59 AM »
Sadly I have and my GP ignores my complaints.
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Offline thenomnomnomicon

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Re: Is cricopharyngeal spasm indicative of ALS?
« Reply #9 on: April 28, 2014, 10:50:32 AM »
P.S. I am still ridiculously paranoid that it is something worse.
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Offline ShawnW

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Re: Is cricopharyngeal spasm indicative of ALS?
« Reply #10 on: April 28, 2014, 10:57:50 AM »
P.S. I am still ridiculously paranoid that it is something worse.

Your doc is not concerned, your neuro isn't concerned.  Might be time to talk to someone.
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My insight, thoughts, experiences or advice that may be posted in this forum are not meant as a substitution for the advice of your physician.

Want to know how to address your anxiety?
http://www.anxietyzone.com/index.php/topic,93402.msg521266.html#msg521266

Offline thenomnomnomicon

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Re: Is cricopharyngeal spasm indicative of ALS?
« Reply #11 on: April 28, 2014, 12:47:30 PM »
My GP is not the best GP. But you do have a point about the neurologist. He didn't seem even slightly concerned. Doubting the EMG, y'know how that goes. The fact I am twitching less would seem to indicate something acute happened. I don't know. I am just speculating.
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Offline ShawnW

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Re: Is cricopharyngeal spasm indicative of ALS?
« Reply #12 on: April 28, 2014, 02:10:15 PM »
if your GP isn't good, get a new one.
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My insight, thoughts, experiences or advice that may be posted in this forum are not meant as a substitution for the advice of your physician.

Want to know how to address your anxiety?
http://www.anxietyzone.com/index.php/topic,93402.msg521266.html#msg521266

Offline PainIsAnIllusion

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Re: Is cricopharyngeal spasm indicative of ALS?
« Reply #13 on: April 28, 2014, 09:54:10 PM »
You're 22 , literally 99.99999% NOT ALS

Emg would show denervation and positive f waves. Even before you felt any twitching or weakness...

The kind of twitching in ALS is so fine you normally can't feel it, much less see it without the help of a strobe light..... It's a fine twitch and by the time you notice them, you're likely atrophied or clinically weak.

Hope this helps.

T
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