Saturday, December 26, 2015

Do Peripheral Nerve Disorders have any Benefits?

Do peripheral nerve disorders have any benefits? Maybe but probably not, and if yes, the negatives surely outweigh the positives. But a person actually asked me this question, a question I never thought about in the past, and it got me thinking. For most people I think the answer to this question unequivocally no. For me, I do think there are some benefits.

Paresthesia, muscle stiffness, muscle cramps, and muscle fatigue and pain are all bad. These symptoms hamper everything I do in life. However, I started to wonder if fasciculations are all bad. It is true, my symptoms bother me too much to jog and do many sports. But for some reason I can cycle and I can do this at a fairly high level. So why is it I can do this (which is probably temporary as my symptoms progress)? Why is the symptom of exercise intolerance avoided for this activity? When I was competing at the Master Nationals time trial championships I met a fellow rider who had the same experience I had with BFS / CFS. He could no longer run, but he could compete at cycling at a high level (much higher than myself I might add). How is this possible?

First, I believe fasciculations are constantly exercising the leg muscles and making them somewhat stronger. 24/7/365 fasciculations can wreak havoc our lives and led to many detrimental symptoms, but they can also keep legs strong and lean.

Second, all this activity helps maintain my weight and keep me light (I am by no means a small cyclist, but I am not large either). Small is good in cycling – you need to produce less power to maintain higher speeds. I suspect we may lose a couple hundred calories per day because of this constant muscle activity.

Third, the pain from BFS/CFS seems to mask a lot of the pain I would feel from cycling workouts. In order to be good at any athletic sport (especially individual ones that are races against time), you need to tolerate huge amounts of pain. In fact, I broke my leg in a fall (a chipped bone in my shin) and sure it hurt, but not enough to stop cycling or competing. The doctor said the pain and or discomfort from such an injury would have forced many to stop most activities and it would certainly affect performance – Not me. Granted, it was not a bad break, but it was a break nonetheless.

To conclude, and this may sound weird, but if people with peripheral nerve disorders are able to overcome their symptoms and force themselves to become active and exercise, they may be able to benefit from their symptoms. Well, at least to a very small degree. So much of what gets printed about peripheral nerve disorders is negative, I am merely trying to find some positives that some people may be able to build upon.

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