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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.