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DYSTONIA – PAIN IN YOUR HANDS OR WHEN WRITING?…

Do you experience pain in your hands or when writing? Dystonia is a condition whereby sometimes it becomes painful to write or play an instrument due to cramps in the hand or arm.

The Dystonia Society is the only national charity providing support, advocacy and information for anyone affected by the neurological movement condition known as dystonia.

If the doctor is not able to explain what is causing the cramps, one possible cause is a hand dystonia (otherwise known as Writer’s or Musician’s Cramp). The symptoms vary and may be one or more of the following:

  1. Twisting or curling up of the hands while writing or playing an instrument.
  2. Fingers move of their own accord to unusual positions while writing or playing an instrument.
  3. Writing or playing an instrument becomes painful.
  4. Symptoms usually disappear when the above activities stop.

Hand dystonia commonly appears in people between the ages of 30 and 50. It is one form of dystonia – a condition that causes uncontrollable and often painful muscle contractions believed to be as a result of incorrect messages from the brain to the muscles.

Dystonia is a neurological movement disorder and, if the symptoms listed above are severe or damaging to quality of life, the correct course of action is for a GP to make a referral to a neurologist specialising in movement disorders. There are treatments for hand dystonia that can significantly reduce the symptoms in many cases.  Only a specialist neurologist has the knowledge and skill to diagnose and treat dystonia.  If the patient and their GP agree that the symptoms might possibly indicate dystonia then the GP should refer the patient to such a specialist.

Dystonia can mimic PD in various and assorted ways and diagnosis can be difficult depending on how the disease manifests its symptoms, which are quite similar to not only PD, but other neurological disorders as well. 

Focal dystonias are the most common types of dystonia. Cervical dystonia affects the neck muscles, whereas blepharospasm is known to affect the muscles around the eyes. When the jaw and tongue muscles are affected, it is known as oromandibular dystonia. The voice can be affected, causing a ‘crackling’ sound and known as spasmodic dysphonia. 

There are three primary types of dystonia: basal ganglionic, mesolimbic, and dystonia from the cerebellum. All three types are from the brain or brainstem, but presentation can be clinically different with symptoms.

 

There are also other conditions that can cause similar symptoms, one of which is carpel or cubital tunnel syndrome. The carpal tunnel is a narrow space in the wrist that contains the median nerve. It is surrounded by the bones of the wrist (carpals) and a thick tendon sheath. Friction will cause the tendon sheath to swell and enlarge limiting the space within the carpal tunnel. As a result, the median nerve becomes compressed leading to numbness and tingling within the wrist and hand. Symptoms can be treated conservatively, with night splinting, medications, and cortisone injections. However, carpal tunnel syndrome does not resolve on its own and worsens over time.

Cubital tunnel syndrome is caused by compression of your ulnar nerve at the elbow.  The ulnar nerve travels from neck down your arm through a tunnel at your elbow called the “cubital tunnel.” The nerve is especially vulnerable to compression because the cubital tunnel is very narrow and has very little soft tissue to protect it. This compression causes numbness and/or tingling pain in your elbow, hand, wrist, or fingers. This is commonly caused by leaning on your elbow for long periods of time or swelling caused by friction of your ulnar nerve rubbing along structures of the cubital tunnel.

Carpal Tunnel

Carpal tunnel and cubital tunnel syndrome are treated at first with conservative treatments like rest, changes in patterns of use, immobilizing the affected area with devices like splints or braces, physical therapy, medication and injections. If the symptoms do not improve after some time, your doctor may suggest a surgical procedure to relieve compression.

As you know I had cubital tunnel release surgery last year and my nerve conduction tests showed I also have carpal tunnel both of which are giving me a lot of pain at the moment. However, on the NHS list of symptoms of Fibromyalgia they do include tingling, numbness, prickling or burning sensations in your hands and feet (pins and needles, also known as paraesthesia)

The best way forward if you are suffering from any of these types of pain is to go and see your GP for him/her to decide your next move to finding out what the problem is.

Living Well with Dystonia is a great book on the subject written by by Daniel Truong;Mayank Pathak;Karen Frei (Author)  A Patient Guide provides comprehensive information on a wide array of Dystonias. It is intended for individuals with various forms of Dystonia who want to adjust lifestyle activities to accommodate this chronic condition, but do not want the disorder to define them. It is a resource and tool for both individuals with the disorder and their families to become better educated about the options available to them.

Source : Ezine Dystonia UK NHS Back Pain Blog UK

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ULTRASOUND AS A TREATMENT FOR BACK PAIN AND FIBROMYALGIA…

One type of treatment for back pain is ‘ultrasound’ which is given to you by physiotherapists to treat various aches and pains.

It utilizes sound waves of a frequency that is too high for the human ear to hear.

It’s said to represent that of a very fast mini massage and to help improve circulation and drainage, reduce swelling and promote relaxation. It can also accelerate the disintegration of small pieces of bone and grit in the joints.

It can also dilate small blood vessels and help to speed up the reduction of swelling and with its thermal (heat) effect can improve circulation and promote relaxation.

You should never have ultrasound treatment if you are pregnant and only from a professional physiotherapist, however there are some home kits you can buy on the internet but your first port of call should be with a professional.

Over the years, therapeutic ultrasound has been used by professional athletes as a preventative measure to protect against injury and to quickly relieve pain and accelerate the healing process. Professional athletes typically suffer injuries to muscles, tendons and ligaments making ultrasound therapy the best choice for reducing swelling which is the source of pain. It also increases blood flow in the affected areas which reduces healing time.

Home ultrasound devices are rapidly changing the lives of many people who require ultrasound treatments. Home ultrasound devices are compact, lightweight, portable safe and very easy to operate. They are also very affordable providing a low cost way to give regular treatments to yourself and others.

Therapeutic professionals are also providing their patients home ultrasound kits to take home and use for the duration of the healing process. What this means to the patient is getting treatments several times per day, every day instead of once or twice a week at the therapist’s office. This translates into a quicker recovery. Because of daily treatments, there is a decrease in the chances of recurring injuries by eliminating scar tissue.

Ultrasound is a method of stimulating tissue beneath the skin’s surface using sound waves. Ultrasound waves travel at an extremely high frequency undetectable by the human ear. Typically, the sound waves travel between 800,000Hz and 2,000,000Hz whereby the human ear can detect sounds up to about 20,000Hz. These high frequency waves penetrate the body about five inches below the skin causing the molecules of the affected tissue to move. This physical stimulation of the molecules enhances cell repair. Also, power output is a significant factor. The power of an ultrasound unit is measured in watts per square centimeter. The higher the power, the more energy is transferred into the body. For example, using higher power usually speeds up treatment although it is actually more effective to use a lower power setting for a longer period of time.

The benefits of therapeutic ultrasound are many. However, the heating and massaging effects of therapeutic ultrasound have 3 primary benefits:

• Increases blood flow in the treated area which speeds the healing process.

• Reduces swelling and edema, the main sources of pain.

• The gentle massaging effects of the ultrasound waves stimulate the affected muscles, tendons and ligaments. The cell of the damaged tissue are repaired without adding strain, and softens any scar tissue that may be present in the injured area.

Another important benefit of therapeutic ultrasound is that it can be used to administer therapeutic medicines into the body. This is a process known as phonophoresis. During this process a naturally medicated gel containing anti-inflammatory and pain relieving ingredients is applied with the ultrasound unit by massaging it deep into the affected area. The combination of the medicated gel and regular ultrasound therapy provide incredible pain relief and speed the healing process.

Home therapeutic ultrasound units are becoming extremely popular among active people because they see the great benefits these units provide in the relief of pain and treatment for chronic ailments. It is a powerful tool to have in your medical arsenal.

Of course you should never try a treatment for yourself until you have spoken with your GP. You can buy home ultrasound kits from Amazon from around £149.99 REVITIVE Personal Ultrasound Therapy (Was Ultralieve)

Article Source: Anthony Pica Ezine Article Amazon