Benign Fasciculation Syndrome


What is Benign Fasciculation Syndrome (BFS)?

Benign Fasciculation Syndrome is a neurological disorder that affects the brain, spinal cord and nerves. In BFS, there is either persistent continuous or intermittent twitching of various skeletal muscles in the body. These muscles are voluntary ones. This type of muscle twitching can be seen in diseases of the neurological system like Muscular Dystrophy and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. Fasciculations themselves are very quick twitches in the muscles caused by the firing of a motor unit.


BFS affects males and females of any age. Sometimes the fasciculations begin after a viral infection. The typical muscles affected are of the legs, arms, eyelids, fingers, back muscles and sometimes it can affect the tongue. [2, 3, 4]

Image for benign fasciculation syndrome


Signs & Symptoms

  • Frequent muscle twitching
  • Fatigue
  • Pins and needles sensations
  • Numbness
  • Muscle cramps
  • Muscle spasms
  • Muscle aches
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Exercise intolerance
  • Headaches
  • Anxiety
  • Skin itchiness
  • Overactive reflexes
  • Tremors
  • Muscle jerking [1, 2, 4]

benign fasciculation syndrome

Causes

The exact cause of Benign Fasciculation Syndrome is not known. Muscle twitching can occur from muscle disease, nerve problems, neuromuscular junction problems, electrolyte imbalances and rabies. Some believe that BFS is an auto immune response to a viral infection. Stress and anxiety are related to Benign Fasciculation Syndrome but are not the cause. There may be other links to certain medications, withdrawal from opioids, exposure to pesticides and nutrient deficiencies. [1, 2, 3, 4]

Diagnosis

Benign Fasciculation Syndrome diagnosis is one of exclusion. The medical doctor will need to rule out other common causes for the twitching like Lyme disease, neuropathy, ALS, MS and other neurological disorders. The medical doctor will need to order an electromyography (EMG) to see how the nerves are working in the body. The medical doctor will need to complete a physical and neurological exam looking for muscle weakness and other abnormalities. Sometimes blood work may be ordered and on occasion a muscle tissue biopsy may be ordered. A referral to a neurologist may be warranted. [1, 2, 4]

electromyography for BFS

Treatment

There is no definitive treatment for Benign Fasciculation Syndrome. The person may be followed by a neurologist. The neurologist should be informed if symptoms change or get worse. Some treatment options are:


  • Anti anxiety medication
  • Reduce stimulants like caffeine and nicotine
  • Managing stress
  • Relaxation
  • Anti epileptic medication
  • Minerals and vitamins
  • Medications like Quinine, Propanolol and Verapamil
  • More exercise
  • Working less
  • Over the counter analgesics
  • Good sleeping habits [1, 2, 3]

Prognosis

The prognosis is excellent for Benign Fasciculation Syndrome as it causes no long term damage. Some people may have anxiety from the fasciculations but with stress relief and relaxation this can subside. Treating the anxiety has lessened the twitching for a lot of people. Spontaneous remission has occurred in some people. [4]

Comments and questions are welcome. Please feel free to share this article with others on Facebook, Twitter or Google Plus!

What to read next?


Reference List:

  1. About BFS Dot Com, http://www.aboutbfs.com/faqgeneral.htm
  2. Health Hype Dot Com, http://www.healthhype.com/benign-fasciculation-syndrome-bfs-constant-muscle-twitching.html
  3. Very Well Dot Com, https://www.verywell.com/benign-fasciculation-syndromes-2488771
  4. Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org
  5. Best Online MD, http://www.bestonlinemd.com/benign-fasciculation-syndrome-symptoms-causes-diagnosis-treatment/
  6. Med Chrome, http://medchrome.com/basic-science/pathology/electromyography/

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.