Cramp-Fasciculation Syndrome


Fasciculations are involuntary, chronic muscle contractions, spasms, twitches or cramps. Classified as a peripheral nerve disorder, cramp-fasciculation syndrome (CFS) sometimes accelerates the nerve activity of a particular part of the body, typically a patient’s legs. Identified in 1991 by researchers at the American Academy of Neurology, these cramps can either be painful or benign but are always spontaneous. The condition operates independently of another dysfunction, as symptoms can manifest themselves among ordinarily healthy individuals.


  • Involuntary muscular contractions
  • Pain emanating from cramping areas
  • A tingling or numbing feeling from a muscular region


  • CFS can affect anyone, including a typically healthy person, even those without a medical history of neuropathic dysfunction or fasciculation.
  • Paying close attention to changes in pain, frequency of cramping or other symptoms is critical to allow a physician to diagnose the condition early and begin treatment.

Risk Factors

  • Several factors can contribute to a person developing CFS, as some hereditary links have been observed. Of the limited research that has been conducted on CFS, each study consisted of very small sample sizes, so more clinical testing and observation is needed to learn more about the condition and identify persons who may be at risk.
  • Other clinically linked conditions include ion channel diseases, peripheral neuropathy, anterior-horn-cell disease, metabolic conditions and tumors.
  • For some patients with CFS, symptoms may appear out of nowhere, resulting in what is known as idiopathic CFS. Because physicians cannot trace a root cause, predicting who may be at risk is difficult.


  • Overly stimulated and hyperactive peripheral nerves are the leading factor in diagnosing cases of CFS.
  • If you believe you may be at risk or are experiencing symptoms, certain neurological diagnostic tests, such as somatosensory evoked potentials or electromyography, can be used to identify CFS or issues related to the peripheral nervous system.


  • Although research is limited, researchers have been able to observe a variance in how patients of CFS respond to treatment. Some recover entirely without medical intervention, while for others, CFS and its pain management can be intrusive in daily life.
  • Physical therapy may be recommended to track pain levels and muscular control over time.
  • This condition can be treated with medication. Anticonvulsants that inhibit overactive nerves, such as carbamazepine, gabapentin, lamotrigine or pregabalin, have been claimed to be effective in anecdotal evidence. In other cases, corticosteroid immunosuppressants, such as prednisone, have led to observed success.

Follow-up Care

  • If medication is recommended, follow your physician’s recommendations regarding prescription doses. If your physician suggests physical therapy, engage in exercises and follow therapist recommendations.
  • Alert your physician if your condition changes, especially if it deteriorates.
  • As with many neurological disorders, specialists are still learning from ongoing clinical studies, and knowledge about this subject is subject to improvement.

Why Choose UK HealthCare for Neuromuscular Disorders?

If you or a loved one is living with a neuromuscular disorder, neuromuscular doctors with Kentucky Neuroscience Institute can offer the latest and most sophisticated care options. UK HealthCare’s ALS Multidisciplinary Clinic earned accreditation as a Certified Treatment Center of Excellence from the ALS Association. This honor is awarded to facilities that demonstrate competency meeting the clinical care and treatment standards set forth by the ALS Association. These facilities must also take part in ALS research and a comprehensive site review.

Additionally, the Kentucky Neuroscience Institute is ranked 44th in the country by U.S. News & World Report, and our physicians are regularly named to the Best Doctors in America List.