Arm rigidity

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Arm rigidity

Postby jfreema » Mon Oct 17, 2011 8:23 pm

I've had physical therapy or massage on and off for the last 10 years, mainly when I get a crick in my neck or have more muscle problems than usual. In the past, the massage or physical therapist would take my arm and shake it, then say, "Relax your arm." I would think, "Oh" and then I'd relax my arm. Once they pointed out that my arm wasn't relaxed, I could relax it and feel it relax in a distinct way.

I hadn't had any body work done in a couple of years, but decided to go for massages again because sometimes I ache and thought it might help. I picked a massage therapist who has a lot of experience and seems very good. The first time I went I noticed her having trouble getting my arm to relax. She kept doing different things but didn't say anything. This time she shook my arm trying to get it to relax and said, "Relax your arm." I let it go loose and she said again, "Relax your arm." I reassured her that it was relaxed. She said that it wasn't, that if she let it drop it wouldn't fall, that I needed to make it so relaxed that it would fall if she let go. I did what I usually do to relax, only it didn't relax evidently. She then shook my arm again a few times and then I felt it relax slightly, only I wasn't doing it. She was trying to shake it out again and I didn't know what to do to help her. I have never had this problem, and the things she was doing reminded me a lot of my dad's neurological exams. He had Parkinson's. So what I need to ask is, do any of you with chiari/cervical syringomyelia have rigidity in either arm? It was a very odd thing and was on the same side as the side where my arm started jumping around on its own in the MRI machine. It's probably just worry on my part, but I thought if this was common with syringomyelia or Chiari then that would explain it, and I could move on. Thanks for any help,

Best regards,

Jennifer
Jennifer
Pre-Op: SM C2-T4 (2mm C2 to C5, 6 mm C5 to T1, 2 mm T1 to T2, 7 mm T2 to T4), CM 8 mm
PFD surgery May 2010
Post-Op: Syrinx has completely disappeared - no evidence at all!
Surgeon: Dr. John Heiss at the NIH
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Re: Arm rigidity

Postby reedy » Tue Oct 18, 2011 9:11 am

Interesting question Jennifer. I get massages regularly (just shoulder and back). I have not particularly noticed this in myself yet, but I will ask the massage person when I next see her to pay attention to this. I do know that my shoulders get tighter and tighter. Sorry I don't have answers for you, but I will put it on the radar and see if I can make any useful comments later!
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Re: Arm rigidity

Postby Beverley » Fri Oct 21, 2011 3:39 pm

Jennifer,

I don't have as much of a problem in my arm.. My problem is regidity in my calf muscles.
I have a rare form of Dystonia called Dopa-Responive Dystonia (DRD). The interesting thing
is that my dystonia is treated using the same type of medicaiton used in Parkinson's treatment.
Dopamine. I have to take Dopamine three times a day or my legs just tighten up worse than
they normally do. They tend to stay tight all the time but with the dopamine they are less rigid.

If you problem gets worse you may want to see a neurologist that specializes in movement disorders.
It may take some searching for one that actually has a good understanding of Dystonia. Very few
will have any knowledge of DRD itself. Unfortunately DRD is extremely rare. My NL is the Head of the
Movements Disorders Clinic at Georgetown University in Washington DC. He has 10 patients with DRD.
I am one and the other 9 are all in one family...

One of the treatments for the rigidity is botox injections. It helps to relax the muscles. Many
people with Dystonia have had good success with this treatment.

Any kind of a diagnosis where Dystonia is concerned can take some time because there is not actual
test or lab work that can determine if you have it. It is a diagnosis of exclusion.... meaning they have
to exclude all the other possibilites. It can take quite a bit of testing that all seems to come back negative
or normal before they move on to an actual dystonia diagnosis. All I am saying with this is no matter
what, if it becomes a problem don't give up because you are not getting any results from testing.

Beverley
Decompression Surgery Feb 8, 2008 w/Duraplasty & Laminectomy C-1&2
Cervical Disc Fusion 11/08 C5&6/6&7- Mild Disc Bulge L2-Focal Hemangioma
L2-L5-Lipoma 3mm L4&L5-Disc Bulge T11&T12-DDD
Dopa-Responsive Dystonia (DRD)
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Location: Southern Maryland

Re: Arm rigidity

Postby jfreema » Sun Oct 23, 2011 9:06 am

I went back to the massage therapist, and I asked specifically for us to work with the right arm and look at the left. As it turns out, my left arm is completely fine. For my right, I have a tendency to hold it rigid, but it's not from the shoulders that it's rigid, which was what I was trying to relax. It's at the elbow instead. Evidently I've developed a habit of locking my elbow and holding it tight in that arm - had not realized until she told me. So we were able to work with that, and I'll be paying attention from now on. I brace my whole body now for some reason, and I'm trying to learn to relax it. Thanks for the comments! I feel better now, knowing exactly the problem and that I have some control over it.
Jennifer
Pre-Op: SM C2-T4 (2mm C2 to C5, 6 mm C5 to T1, 2 mm T1 to T2, 7 mm T2 to T4), CM 8 mm
PFD surgery May 2010
Post-Op: Syrinx has completely disappeared - no evidence at all!
Surgeon: Dr. John Heiss at the NIH
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jfreema
 
Posts: 317
Joined: Sat May 09, 2009 7:19 pm


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