What is Benign Fasciculation Syndrome?

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  • Written By: Steve R.
  • Edited By: Kristen Osborne
  • Last Modified Date: 22 October 2016
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Benign fasciculation syndrome, sometimes referred to as muscle fasciculation syndrome, is a relatively rare condition affecting a person’s nervous system in which muscles involuntarily contract and twitch. While this condition may occur in almost any muscle, including the tongue, the condition primarily takes place in the face, arms, and legs. The syndrome often resembles other conditions including Lou Gehrig's disease (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) and motor neuron disease. No known cure exists for benign fasciculation syndrome. Not a life-threatening illness, the syndrome is more of an irritant and can strike a person of any age or any sex.

Besides twitching that does not go away, general symptoms may include a pins and needles sensation, numbness, cramping, spasms, and fatigue. Other symptoms may be itchiness, achiness, and headaches. While the disease is generally not disabling, it may cause some difficulty with various types of movement. For example, as the condition causes shaking in the arms, a person with benign fasciculation syndrome generally may experience trouble writing.

Typically, an individual with the syndrome will experience more severe symptoms during the night or when a person becomes stressed or overexerts himself. How long symptoms last varies from months to years. Also, symptoms may go into periods of remission and then reappear.


At some point, most people have some sort of twitching episode in their lives. Sometimes, twitching becomes very prevalent and occurs in several body parts; if this is the case, the individual may be advised to seek medical help. The syndrome is detected by a neurologist who examines a person’s reflexes and conducts strength tests.

The condition can also be discovered through blood tests and biopsies. Some doctors may recommend a electromyography, which measures nerve damage. Since the syndrome does not affect the nerves, a normal electromyography may rule out other disorders and indicate benign fasciculation syndrome.

The exact cause of the syndrome is difficult to pinpoint. The syndrome is complex, as it is not understood whether the condition affects the muscles themselves or motor nerves. Overexertion and attention deficit disorder may be contributing factors that may lead to the condition.

No treatment completely eliminates the effects of the syndrome. Some beta blockers and anti-seizure medications have been effective in treating the condition. Also, treating the condition like an anxiety and using sedatives may also help. Proactive methods to reduce stress including exercising, getting enough sleep, and decreasing the amount of caffeine in the diet may also prove effective.


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Post 5

I've been diagnosed with BFS now for some five years and have lost just about everything to this condition. They say it's benign, but I have found that it can rob you of your life just the same as if it were life threatening. It may not have killed me but it definitely killed my life.

I'm weak and tired all the time and not able to tell when fatigue will strike, making it impossible to be confidant with things in my hands. I can't guarantee the guy on the other end of the board that I will not drop it. And walking too -- I can't tell when I have go and sit for a while to regain my strength.

I've lost jobs and relationships and tons of money to this so called benign syndrome. Benign? I say hardly benign. Sometimes it feels like a stab in the back, sometimes it feels like my legs are going to pop out from underneath me. It sometimes stops me in my tracks.

No one, and I mean no one has come forward to help. Everyone thinks I'm lying or want a free hand out. That's crap. I just want normal. Sometimes I get normal but by that time I'm over the limit.

Post 4

I wonder if I have this syndrome. Whenever I am under a lot of stress, my face muscles twitch, and this goes on for weeks at a time.

When my friend and coworker decided to leave his job, I was devastated. Not only was I losing a good friend; I also was having to take on a ton of responsibility and train a new worker.

The strain of it all made the muscles around my lips pull downward. I felt a constant tugging at the corners of my mouth. Also, one eye would twitch all day long, and I could actually see my eyelid arching up momentarily when I looked in the mirror.

I had no control

over my facial muscles. I knew that stress had caused this, but I did not know it was an actual syndrome. It only occurs when I am at a rough point in my life, and I have been without twitches for years now. I guess it may return someday, when I'm going through something hard.
Post 3

@shell4life – It does sound like you have this syndrome. Twitching yourself awake is something that I share with you.

I have benign cramp fasciculation syndrome, and it is painful rather than annoying. I sometimes wake up in the middle of the night with vicious leg cramps.

There is nothing I can do to soothe them. Massaging only makes it worse, and walking with my leg is impossible during a cramp.

I have also had cramps on my arms during the day, usually at inopportune times, like when I'm carrying a big bag of groceries to my car. It hurts so much that I often drop whatever I'm holding and fall to my knees.

Every medication I have tried to use has had side effects that were unpleasant. I live each day dreading the cramps that I know will come, and I wish there was a natural remedy for my ailment.

Post 2

My uncle has this syndrome. Episodes of severe twitching were usually brought on by stress, as he saw during his college exams.

He was in the classroom, pencil and test sheets in hand, about to take the exam that would determine his final grade in the course. Several of the questions had to be answered in essay format, so he would have to do a lot of thinking and writing.

As he started to answer the first question, his arm began to shake uncontrollably. He kept flinging the pencil onto the floor, and the professor could see that something was wrong. She offered to let him take the exam after he visited the medical center on campus.

The campus doctor put him on beta-blockers. This calmed the twitching by the next day, and he was able to retake the exam with no problems.

Post 1

I have some of the benign fasciculation syndrome symptoms mentioned here. Various body parts twitch from time to time, and the twitching usually lasts for several hours. It is highly annoying.

I do have trouble concentrating, and I find it hard to sleep at night. I drink a lot of coffee just to stay awake, and I know that this may be contributing to my twitching.

I suppose I need to see a doctor after all. I thought I was just stressed out, but perhaps I can actually get medication for this. It is really bothersome, especially when I'm trying to sleep and I keep twitching myself awake.

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