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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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21 REASONS TO READ THROUGH BACK PAIN BLOG UK’S POSTS FOR AUGUST…

Another month gone by quickly with Autumn on the horizon. I hope my readers have had a great summer and enjoyed some of my posts. This month’s 21 posts included :

  1. Sleep Sunday – my regular Sunday post – ‘Let’s talk About CBD for Sleep’
  2. Back Pain Blog was listed in 100 Best Blogs for Disabled People – I was very chuffed about this one.
  3. My favourite post for July is ‘Dear July’ from ‘Nuture Thyself’.
  4. 23 Reasons to read through Back Pain Blog UK’s posts for July. (just in case you missed them).
  5. BPB Alert – Lumbar artificial Disc Shows Positive 7 Year Outcome for Degenerative Disc Disease – At last some good news on the horizon.
  6. CBD, It’s Benefits and Awareness Day 8th August.
  7. Sleep Sunday – this week’s topic was Lets Talk About Herbal and Natural Sleep Aids.
  8. Health Awareness Days/Weeks/Month of September – another regular post for Back Pain Blog.
  9. How to Kick Start Your Immune System.
  10. 20 Remarks/Comments Someone in Pain Should Totally Ignore – we ALL know them as we have ALL had them said to us at one time or another.
  11. Finding the right consultant for your spinal problems – My story, as I have just found the best consultant for my problems.
  12. 6 of the Best Teas to Drink to Help You Relax.
  13. 5 Things Everyone Should Know About the Coronavirus Outbreak – N J Today. Net – this was a reblog from another blog which I thought should be shared.
  14. Sleep Sunday – this week’s was ‘Let’s Talk About the Best CBD Gummies to Help You Sleep.
  15. 12 Ways to Boost Your Self-Esteem with a new Skill.
  16. BPB Alert – Digital Therapy Program for Fibromyalgia.
  17. What is Psoroatic Spondylitis of the Spine? – an interesting read.
  18. Acupuncture for Bone Related Pain.
  19. Sleep Sunday – Let’s Talk About Insomnia – this one was a very popular one !
  20. Little Boxes of Wellbeing and Happiness – a little post on some lovely gifts to pick you up.
  21. September Pain Awareness Month – How Do You Define Pain?

Well, that was my month’s post, a few less than usual but I hope to catch up on a few more in September which will include my regular Sleep Sundays, Awareness Days and BPB Alerts.

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SEPTEMBER PAIN AWARENESS MONTH – HOW DO YOU DEFINE PAIN?…

September 1st is the start of Pain Awareness month so I thought I would start it by writing a post on how you actually define pain.

According to the rule books pain in its simplest definition, is a signal from the nervous system that something is wrong in the body. Chronic pain is the persistent manifestation of this natural signal, and it can linger for weeks, months or years, and have any number of causes, from past injury to long-term illness to psychogenic pain-pain with no apparent physical cause.

The International Association for the Study of Pain defines pain as “an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with, or resembling that associated with, actual or potential tissue damage.” In medical diagnosis, pain is regarded as a symptom of an underlying condition.

The British Pain Society write that often the cause of pain is obvious, a broken leg, or a bruise. But there are times when the source of pain is unseen, for example a slipped disc. Occasionally it is very difficult to find the exact cause of a person’s pain.

Health professionals use different terms for different types of pain.
•Short-term pain is called Acute Pain. An example is a sprained ankle.
•Long-term is called Persistent or Chronic Pain. Back trouble or arthritis are examples.
•Pain that comes and goes is called Recurrent or Intermittent Pain. A tooth ache could be one.

Wikipedia write that pain motivates the individual to withdraw from damaging situations, to protect a damaged body part while it heals, and to avoid similar experiences in the future. Most pain resolves once the noxious stimulus is removed and the body has healed, but it may persist despite removal of the stimulus and apparent healing of the body. Sometimes pain arises in the absence of any detectable stimulus, damage or disease.

Many acute pains are like an alarm telling us something is wrong. Most minor ones are easy to treat; others may be a sign of something more serious. For example the pain of a broken leg will make us rest the leg until it heals. Here the pain is helping.

Regardless of how it originates, it’s widely documented that people with chronic pain suffer effects that are far more than physical. The mental and emotional side effects may be even more debilitating and can include stress, depression, hopelessness, feelings of worthlessness, anger, divorce, abandonment by family and friends, and even suicidal tendencies.

Above all, the main concept to understand about managing chronic pain and the stress that comes with it is that you do have control and you can help alleviate your suffering. Even if the pain persists, the suffering you feel because of it can be greatly diminished.

If someone asked you how you would define pain, what would you say?

Source : Wikipedia, British Pain Society,