So, I'm a 22 year old female and I've been suffering from full body twitches (shoulder shrugs, head whips, pectoral twitching, etc.) for a long time. Sometimes I make a hiccup noise (sometimes this noise can be repeated for more than an hour which makes my throat very sore). Sometimes I can suppress the twitches but it makes it feel like I'm having chills (without the cold) and I just feel gross.
The head jerks started when I was a kid, but nobody really noticed them. Occasionally another kid would ask me what was wrong with me but I would just tell them I was having a muscle spasm or a chill. My dad had Scheuermann's disease as a child and whenever I mentioned the movements to him he said that he had similar problems but that they were rare and were probably related to his spinal condition. He grew out of the twitches and assumed I would too.
In the past 3 or 4 years (about the time I entered college) the twitches started becoming more frequent and harder to ignore. My best friend's little brother was diagnosed with Tourette's recently, and since he and I have similar symptoms, I thought I would finally get checked out.
So far I've had a CT scan (normal), an MRI (normal), and some basic blood work done (all normal). My regular doctor tried to put me on a powerful anti-psychotic but it had side effects that were the same as my symptoms (plus things like not being able to move my eyes) so I didn't take them. My neurologist recommended I see a motion disorder specialist.
The reasons they don't think I have Tourette's are:
1. I'm female.
2. I don't have ADHD, OCD, or any other learning problems
3. Even though I noticed the problem, my teachers and even my mother didn't notice (but I did complain to my Dad about it multiple times)
4. My Dad grew out of his problem (which I've read you can do with Tourette's but my Neurologist suggested mean't it wasn't genetic)
5. I have a long family history of cancer, heart disease, and stuff like that (I'm not sure what that has to do with my shaking... I have good blood pressure and I don't have cancer)
My Dad thinks I might have a stress conversion disorder. It does get worse when I'm stressed, tired, or sick, but if I'm focusing on something (like in class or listening intently) the symptoms stop or lessen. From what I've read about conversion disorders, usually they're things like pseudo-seizures or paralysis... I definitely don't suffer from anything like that. Usually the shakes are worse when I'm trying to unwind or stop focusing on stuff (like when I meet up with my friends of lunch or a movie).
Sometimes I have days or even full weeks where if you weren't watching closely, you'd never notice I shake at all. Other times, I've had professors ask me what kind of medication I'm on that makes me do that. I'm not on any medications, I don't smoke, and I stopped drinking 2 years ago.
I'm frustrated. The doctors told me I would probably be able to control it with "lifestyle." I got that part. I just want to officially know what it is. I'm a communication major (a great thing to be when you shake and make noises) and we are always taught we give names to the things that are important. I think it's important.
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