What Are Fasciculations in ALS?

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by Wendy Henderson |

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Many people suffer from fasciculations or muscle twitching, and most of the time, it’s caused by drinking too much coffee, a lack of sleep or a trapped nerve. However, repeated episodes of fasciculations could be a sign of a neuromuscular disorder such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

MORE: An overview of the signs and symptoms of ALS.

Muscle twitching is not enough of a symptom on its own for doctors to diagnose ALS. According to the ALS Association, doctors also need to see signs of progressive muscle deterioration, along with other symptoms.

Fasciculations are caused by the tips of nerves (axons) coming into contact with nearby muscles, sending an electrial signal which causes the muscle to twitch. The sensation can be a one-off event or can continue sporadically for weeks or even months and in most cases will cease on its own.

People living with ALS will often experience muscle twitching as the signal from the nerves to the muscles become more disrupted. However, there is no evidence that suggests that muscle twitching is linked to how quickly the disease will progress.

MORE: Nine things to know about the new ALS drug, Radicava

ALS News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.