No Great Shakes


My name is Michael Eaton. I have a question for anyone who reads this website. I only know of myself and two other people who share a peculiar little physiological/neurologic behavior.

For each of us, it haS been just a curious minor mystery in our lives. One of us has MS; two of us may have MS. Is it a rare and undiscovered symptom of MS? Does anyone else have it?

Since my mid-teens, I’ve intermittently had a very curious case of shakes which lasts for just an instant and has no aftereffects. They’ve come as often as four in one day and as rarely as months apart.

I’ve described them to doctors, and they’ve either just blown it off or given an explanation which I considered unsatisfactory. In all three of us who have these shakes/chills, shivers, they do not constitute any hindrance to our lives.

In my case, they are just a 50-year unimportant mystery which would be pleasing to solve before departing this world.

I am approaching my 61st birthday. For at least ten years now, I’ve been suggesting to one neurologist after another that I thought I had MS. So far, all the standard tests for MS – VEP, lumbar punctures, and MRI’s – have either been borderline or negative.

At another time, I would very much like to present a description of my medical history and see what you good readers think of my situation. But, right now, let’s focus on these shakes and see if we can bring any light upon them.

A few weeks ago, I decided to write down for the first time a detailed description of these shakes for my current neurologist (who, yes, is a MS specialist – the first I’ve gone to.).

While researching on the web, I came across an article entitled “MS Is Benign – Till” by the leader of this website, Tom. In it, he refers to “sudden, very quick body shakes – we called them chills or catching a draft.”

That passage grabbed my immediate attention. I wrote him an email, including my newly written description of my shakes, and asked him if it sounded familiar.

He immediately replied, very happy to finally hear from someone who had the same odd symptom he did. The only other person who has these shakes is my oldest son. Only my wife has seen these shakes in both of us.

So, with that explanation, here follows my description of my shakes. See if they ring a bell. If they do, let Tom or I know. It would be wonderful to discover a new and very rare symptom of MS – or of just some unimportant physiological condition:

  1. Have been occurring with variable frequency
    • - since mid-teens.
  2. Sudden, 1-second muscular spasms
    • - in upper torso of body.
  3. Appearance is like that of a very severe shake due to chill.
    • - Although temperature has nothing to do with it.
  4. Only happens when fully conscious and relaxed.
    • Occurs only while sitting.
    • Never while standing or lying down.
  5. Never occur while speaking or
    • making any kind of body movement.
    • Has never happened while holding anything.
  6. The shakes also do not occur when I am mentally active
    • – that is, thinking intently on some subject.
  7. Never has been associated with falling asleep.
    • I have never been drowsy when shakes have occurred.
  8. Frequency is highly variable.
    • May happen several times in a week, or
    • Twice in several months.


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