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Degenerative Disk Disease/sciatica Or Cataplexy Weakness?

sciatica cataplexy

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#1 squirrel!

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Posted 23 August 2013 - 05:04 PM

Hi guys.

 

  I am still being diagnosed, should have results early next week. I've been doing a lot of thinking about cataplexy and how/if it applies to me. I have leg weakness often. My legs will be jelly like, weak and shaky- hard to walk. I was diagnosed with a crappy back/herniation 2 years ago, and assumed this weakness was related to that. However now I am not so sure. I had a recent MRI that showed no major new damage to my back (herniation, etc) but instead just more arthritis. (I'm 31, BTW) so there should be no real reason for the weakness- at least that is my understanding.

  I am hearing that cataplexy comes on after emotion. And in my case, the weakness definitely does. About 2 weeks ago, my husband and I were watching a movie when a large mirror fell off the wall out of nowhere. I stood up to see what it was and immediately fell down. I assumed it was my back because I was sitting watching a movie. Now I am not so sure. I notice the weakness moreso when I am very tired, but in my case it lasts most of the day.

 The more I think about it, the more I think I am dealing with both. Cataplexy like leg weakness, and general leg weakness due to my Degenerative Disk. It's just incredibly hard to know the difference.

 

I know it's a slim chance, just curious if anyone is in the same boat.

 

Thanks, I always appreciate any responses I get. =)

 



#2 IdiopathicHypersomniac

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Posted 23 August 2013 - 07:19 PM

One way to find out if it is cataplexy is to go on an anti-depressant for a few days and then stop cold turkey.  If it's cataplexy, it will rebound the day after you stop.



#3 squirrel!

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Posted 23 August 2013 - 09:02 PM

hmm.. Interesting.

 I'll talk to my Dr. Although I'm not sure i'd want to go on/off meds like that. i'll ask though!

 Thanks!!



#4 Ferret

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Posted 23 August 2013 - 09:45 PM

Like, as if, you want to hurt your back by purposefully making cataplexy worse and end up falling down and injuring yourself...NOT!

There has to be a better way. Either the cataplexy will get worse on its own and become more obvious or it won't. All you can do is describe it to your Doctor or take your husband with you as a witness.

The picture falling off the wall and your reaction to it is a perfect example of cataplexy.



#5 Livi

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Posted 24 August 2013 - 10:52 AM

Does cataplexy always get worse? Mine is better than it used to be. Then again, it has always been very mild. I only fell once, from fear, and it was in 2008. squirrel, yes, you do have cataplexy. My cataplexy weakness comes from fear so I would have gotten very weak from the mirror suddenly falling. I would have had to sit down or kneel on the floor.
Then again, I also have mild arthritis in my back! (I'm 34). And a lumbar disc bulge and sciatic nerve pain from falling off a fast horse when the ** thing tripped. But I had what you are describing even before my back injury - so - it's cataplexy.

#6 Ferret

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Posted 24 August 2013 - 01:32 PM

We were talking about "rebound" cataplexy...which happens when you go on an anti-depressant and then suddenly stop taking it.

And, yes, the rebound cataplexy is worse...I was a mess for 18 months after being on imipramine for six months.



#7 Livi

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Posted 24 August 2013 - 03:00 PM

I didn't know that's what he meant by "rebound" as I thought the word "rebound" means "to spring back" without referring to the strength of the rebound. I never heard of "rebound cataplexy" in the sense that you're talking about it. Sorry for my ignorance.

#8 sk8aplexy

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Posted 24 August 2013 - 04:54 PM

Cataplexy can be completely unpredictable, as well as at times (or once you've recognized your 'common' triggers) to a small part predictable.

It definitely, for me, has come and gone, from time to time been there and, not been there.

Stress and anxieties play into it being more frequent, especially in a 'rebound' (my meaning there being, soon there after one Cataplexy, another comes easier or that another is more likely to occur) sense.

Minimal (head droop or even just a flicker of a muscle) to, more severe, complete temporary muscle paralysis (immediate collapse, like an electrical short-out of the muscles) and a trigger is most always involved (whatever emotion, can be entirely sensible or completely of unusual, un-note-able even, sort).

When Cataplexy is hitting, I very immediately get the odd sensation that is sort of like muscle/s flickering, perhaps around my head, or throughout my body; it can make me entirely freeze, along with too weak to maintain holding whatever may be in my hand/grasp.  The best thing I can do, is get myself 'entirely' down onto the ground (as though I were to take a nap, resting every limb and body part, upon the ground), immediately, and let it dissipate (which happens quick, thankfully).

 

As for 'disc degeneration disease,' not sure that is a common comorbid condition with Narcolepsy, such would not surprise me.  I definitely have a case of it, it's hard to relate it though to my family genetics or the activities which I've partaken in for most of my life, which have definitely had an impact (skateboarding, snowboarding, ice hockey...).  Migraines are definitely common in persons with Narcolepsy, and many people on the forum have mentioned there necks being an aspect of their headaches, which I definitely relate with...

 

The best of luck to you in figuring it all out.



#9 squirrel!

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Posted 25 August 2013 - 02:24 PM

Does anyone experience all day leg weakness? Just general weakness in your legs that lasts most of the day? I have this when I am extremely tired.

Again, trying to decipher the two.

Thanks!

#10 Hank

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Posted 25 August 2013 - 05:24 PM

Yes. I do not know how to pinpoint the cause but I do experience all day weakness when:

- I am physically exhausted

- I am emotionally exhausted

 

This physical/ emotional exhaustion combo tends to hit me hard. It think the emotional part leaves to prone to little cataplexies while the physical part just leaves me wiped out.

 

I returned from vacation last week. I had a great time but it takes me time to recover from any break in my routine. I should have scheduled an entire day to rest after vacation. However, I went directly back to work and some large stresses. I had to take a sick day and felt like a sloppy drunk all day- very emotional, physically weak, no appetite, barely ate. The next day I was fine.

 

So, stress= either positive or negative- triggers physical exhaustion for me. And emotional stress primes me for cataplexy.

 

I hope this helps.

 

Just a comment- you are going through a stressful time. You are waiting for tests and answers. You have expressed concerns about your child.

 

My solution for me is to rest my body and relax my mind.



#11 squirrel!

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Posted 25 August 2013 - 07:39 PM

Thank you hank. I appreciate the response. :)

#12 IdiopathicHypersomniac

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Posted 26 August 2013 - 12:41 AM

That could be a form of mild partial status cataplecticus.



#13 BrainCloud

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Posted 13 September 2013 - 06:03 PM

Yes. I do not know how to pinpoint the cause but I do experience all day weakness when:

- I am physically exhausted

- I am emotionally exhausted

 

This physical/ emotional exhaustion combo tends to hit me hard. It think the emotional part leaves to prone to little cataplexies while the physical part just leaves me wiped out.

 

I returned from vacation last week. I had a great time but it takes me time to recover from any break in my routine. I should have scheduled an entire day to rest after vacation. However, I went directly back to work and some large stresses. I had to take a sick day and felt like a sloppy drunk all day- very emotional, physically weak, no appetite, barely ate. The next day I was fine.

 

So, stress= either positive or negative- triggers physical exhaustion for me. And emotional stress primes me for cataplexy.

 

I hope this helps.

 

Just a comment- you are going through a stressful time. You are waiting for tests and answers. You have expressed concerns about your child.

 

My solution for me is to rest my body and relax my mind.

 

I'm SO glad you wrote this because this is what I experience too, with the physical exhaustion.



#14 sleepyindelaware

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Posted 20 July 2015 - 12:13 AM

I know this is an older post but hope my experience with this combination may help. I have had cataplexy controlled fairly well by Prozac for over twenty years. A few years ago a combination of repetitive work and auto accident injuries began to cause increased spine pain. I believe I also have klipper feil syndrome because of notes on one of my mris. Because of transitioning to ssdi I have gone through a few periods without medications which I know is not good. I have degenerative discs and facet arthrosis in my lumbar spine and have had acdf surgery on my neck. The surgery stopped or slowed the loss of use of my hands but seems to have increased cataplexy. Because of auto, employer and workers compensation insurance arguing treatment was delayed and I have permanent nerve damage to my hands. Only 22 pounds grip strength. MRI themselves increase cataplexy for me for a few days after and depending on where may also cause sleep attacks as well. I normally sleep for about 18 hours after. I am treated with percoset and have tried a variety of muscle relaxers as insurance formularies keep changing. Several months ago I had a major increase in falls including several down the stairs to the cement basement floor and one where I did a split roller-skating with my grandkids, unintentionally, where I severely tore my hamstring. I noticed on falls that I attribute to cataplexy I can't take any action to protect myself or call for help or even get up immediately. This is what I saw for years. More recently I began having falls where I could move and talk during the fall and these I felt were sciatica related. My pain doctor was hard to convince so I documented the injuries with my phone to show I was routinely injuring myself. He finally ordered new MRI and emg tests which showed degeneration at l4 and s1 levels which can contribute to leg weakness. The other symptoms along with the falls were pain extending across my lower back and down my leg. I pretty much keep severe nerve pain on the outside of my calf and shooting up my heel into my leg. My restless leg syndrome is also acting up. I have a follow up sleep lab tomorrow. Since I am back on provigil and Prozac the pain is much worse but I am falling far less often. My sleep doctor also recommended that I not take flexeril as this is particularly bad for narcolepsy. It affects the rem and nrem cycles which is not desirable. I have very bad muscle spasms at night and have difficulty with sleeping without a muscle relaxer. Skelaxin generic name methocarbomal helps without increasing eds or cataplexy but it is expensive even un generic, Medicare won't cover it and there are supply problems at the pharmacy. Right now I am in the doughnut hole due to the manufacturer keeping provigil priced unreasonably high. I can't afford the skelaxin. I've also noticed that the tortullis which are neck spasms that pull my head to the right are much worse and painful when the cataplexy is under control. The back issues also cause my leg and foot to turn inward. The muscles on the big toe that push off are weakened as well. Using a cane and handrails when appropriate minimize the risk as does being conscious of alignment of posture and body parts. So yes you can have falls attributed to both conditions. Managing them along with pain control will be a challenge. I am asking for a referral to another pain doctor this week as mine just wants to do injections under anesthesia. I'm worried about the bone degeneration they cause. I'm also worried about the cumulative effects of anesthesia done three times a year in the office by a doctor who is not familiar with narcolepsy and associated drug interactions.

#15 sleepyindelaware

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Posted 20 July 2015 - 12:20 AM

And yes I have had consistent weakness for years and have been through enough tests to drive me crazy. Things ruled out include Parkinson's. ALS, ms, aids related brain lesions, aftermath of stroke, Kress syndrome, seizures and epilepsy, menieres, problems with blood supply via tilt tests and a few others. Since I have two vertebrae in my neck that were fused at birth, I am hoping a new doctor will confirm the klipper feil syndrome diagnosis suggested by the ssdi judge.