My ankle reflexes are non existant , i was diagnosed with gbs aug 08 and my neuro gave me the all clear to drive 3 months later even though i needed 2 crutches to walk, even now there a days i get my husband to drive because im not up to it. I trip over easily without my crutch, i thought it was because of no ankle reflexes , still have lot of weakness in legs and feet . My neuro said id prob never get ankle reflexes back and i asked him if it mattered, he said no. I remember when i first drove again and i was really nervous but it was a big boost to my confidence. It helps to have a handicapped parking sticker ,dont need it everytime i go shopping but there are days when im dragging my feet. Good luck to anyone out there who is driving again for the first time after being diag with gbs.:)
The reflexes one has (or not) in the knees, feet, and arms when a doctor hits, strokes, or pokes the tested area have little to do with the “reflexes” necessary for driving. The type a doctor tests for is an involuntary reflex. The types one needs for driving are voluntary reflexes, but ones you don’t really think about. An example is ducking when something comes flying by your head.
It is true those recovering from GBS probably have slower voluntary reflexes than the general population. However, there are compensation mechanisms that can be used, such as driving a bit slower (not enough to impede traffic), planning the route carefully, picking times with less traffic, and avoiding distractions.
I found this link on medical guidelines and driving: [URL=http://www.nhtsa.gov/DOT/NHTSA/Traffic%20Injury%20Control/Articles/Associated%20Files/811210.pdf]. You might find it helpful to look at the sections on physical limitations and on multiple sclerosis.
Godspeed in your recovery,
It could be so many things, I guess until one gets bad enough, neuros tend to blow people off. Personally, I find most of them to be an arrogant group! About the reflexes, I eventually did get all of mine back, even though I have extensive nerve damage below the knees (I wear AFOs to walk & use a cane), hands are at about 70%, knees & hips are still somewhat weak…in other words, I don’t put much stock in the fact that my reflexes are back.
Most of the people are replying that they lost reflexes from the beginning or delayed from the beginning. My understanding is that you lost reflexes, regained them, and now have lost them again. From looking at your other posts, you had GBS in 2005 and regained function and recently were found to have lost reflexes again (but not in left elbow?). Reflexes are indiactions of nerve conduction in the body. We have them so that we can react as quickly as possible it we need to–so that if we are hit/hurt on the right leg we pull back faster than would happen if the pain signal had to go to the brain and us think about (even briefly) to move away. With reflexes the signal goes to the spinal cord and back. Reflexes are used to indicate if something is a problem in the peripheral nervous system (outside of the brain and spinal cord) or in the central nervous system.
The fact that you have lost reflexes again indicates that something is happening in your nerve conduction again. If you are not having symptoms other than the loss of reflexes, do not worry about it too much, BUT do listen to your body. EMGs/NCV testing is not as good a test really of the total nerve function as body function is and a lot of people have GBS and slowly are noted to lose reflexes. This means that there may be something new happening in you. It may not ever be more than loss of reflexes, but it is different.
WithHope for a cure of these diseases
As others have said, reflexes are a good sign of where the problem is in the body. Reflexes that are lower (like most of the time in GBS) are a sign of lower neuron problem–with problems from the nerves that connect spinal cord and body. Reflexes that are over-active are a sign of a problem in upper neurons that connect spinal cord and brain.
The other important fact to know is what is happening in the rest of the body. If reflexes are increased everywhere in you, this might be an atypical recovery phenomenon. If they are only increased in the legs–say knees and ankles–this raises a concern about the lower half of the spinal cord.
I have always all over had really, really brisk reflexes. In classes for my clinicals decades ago, everyone wanted to test my reflexes because you get a really impressive kick out if one hits my patella anywhere close to the right place!!!! I did not lose the reflexes with GBS as you are “supposed” to do. My neurologist thinks the brisk reflexes are normal for me (since they have been present for decades and are brisk all over) and said because they are so brisk, they might be decreased and no one would really know it. I went for a second opinion not long ago and this neurologist said my problem has to be in my brain and/or spinal cord and that it could not be GBS because my reflexes were too good. Of course, they did not explain how I had sudden onset of progressive motor and sensory neuropathy with paresthesias sixteen months ago and still walk quite abnormally and have sensory cranial nerve changes. There is not a whole lot that gives all that except GBS/CIDP.
There are people who get diagnosed with GBS and then it is later found out that the source of the problem is in the CNS such as due to multiple sclerosis. My guess is that your doctor wants to make sure that your brain is okay in part because of this. It is important to note that many people have said on this site that one or two little changes (plaques) on an MRI do not mean that one has MS–they can be due to other problems including migraines. It also is my impression that doctors like to and should rethink processes as time goes on. If it were MS, different treatment approaches might help more. i do not say about MS to scare you, but to give you facts to help.
WithHope for a cure of these diseases
I don’t think it really matters all that much if one has reflexes or not. When I was first dx with GBS (later changed to CIDP), one of the first things the ER doctor noticed was my total lack of reflexes. I still had all of my strength, except for slightly diminished knee strength.
Six years later I still have very little feeling or strength below the knee & overall weakness & yet have reflexes back in my elbows, wrists, knees, etc… Nothing below the knee, of course. I would rather be the way I was physically when I was first dx & had no reflexes at all?
Hi, I don’t have reflexes either since right before dx 6/07. When doc first hit my knee with the hammer I couldn’t belive my leg didn’t jump. I said do it again, nothing. Both legs and arms are still that way. Scary huh, when you know what it’s supposed to do. I am exercising at the yMCA. Swim classes (arthritic swim) and Silver Sneakers range of motion and yoga. I enjoy it and it gets me moving. I usually must rest for awhile afterward, but it feels like a good tired. (I ran out of ins. covered PT so I’m trying the YMCA as a substitute) Good luck to you!
Two years ago, when I last saw my neuro, I had gotten back the reflexes in my arms but not my legs. A few days ago when I brought my mom into the doctor, I asked him to check my reflexes, probably because of this post (I was just curious.) He said my arms were normal & my knees near normal. I am no better physically than I was two years ago, so my conclusions is that they mean nothing as far as recovery. It was fun to see my knees jerk again, however…
I never lost my reflexes – in fact they become more brisk when I have flare ups. As for the testing and wanting to know a dx I understand and just got my offical dx last month after 3 months, 3 hospital stays, 2 rounds of plasmapheresis. It can be hard to find a dr that is willing to take the time. One EMG was positive for CIDP, the other when I was asymptomatic was negative. My CSF was 45 after plasmapheresis (why they didn’t do it until after the treatments is beyond me!).
Good luck and hang in there!
The neuros don’t even check my knee or ankle reflexes anymore. Or stick needles in me to test my nerves. With my Scripps dx they go on from there. Saturday my legs were kind of rubbery and I felt that I was walking about a yard below the floor. Still happening. And now I can’t hardly talk. Or swallow. I guess I should contact my doctor. Sure hope it’s only a stroke, not neuropathy gaining more ground. :rolleyes: