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Date of last update: 8/21/2017.

Forum Name: Rheumatology Topics

Question: Stiffness in hands

 kandy - Tue Aug 14, 2007 2:47 pm

I am 26 years old female and for the past few months, I have noticed that my fingers tremble lightly when i try to do things that require precision (picking at split ends for example, or putting thread through a needle)... My arms and legs feel weak often.. For the past few weeks, i've also noticed some sort of pain mainly in my arms (around my elbows, forearms, or the back of my arms). It feels like the "electrical shock" of when your elbow hits a hard surface, but maybe 10 times less painful.. Just yesterday, I was eating a hamburger and the fingers on my left hand seemed to have "stuck" in their hamburger- holding position.

I am in fairly good health, and had alot of blood tests done 3mths ago because the doctor wanted to rule out thyroid problems (my stiffness problems hadn't surfaced like that back then). All my tests were normal, except for my cholesterol, but that may be because i had 2 eggs that morning.

Can someone tell me what this could be? What kind of tests do i need to tell the doctor to do?

Thank you
 kandy - Mon Aug 27, 2007 12:12 pm

Can I please get an answer from somebody. Could this be parkinson's, or arthritis, or...? Can these be seen in the blood tests that I had? If not, what tests do I need to tell the doctor to run to make sure I don't have these debilitating problems?

Any answer is appreciated.
 John Kenyon, CNA - Mon Jul 21, 2008 11:25 pm

User avatar Hello kandy -

I very much hope by now you've found an answer to this peculiar problem. A few things suggest themselves, and while Parkinson's would be a very long shot it should be ruled out. It certainly doesn't sound remotely like arthritis, which involves joints. More likey, it seems, would be some sort of polyneuritis: usually caused by a virus or appearing as a sequel to a viral infection (often which went unnoticed itself), wherein voluntary nerves in the extremities become irritated with resulting pricking and tingling sensations (not unlike what you describe), as well as weakness and tremor in the etremities. Gillain-Barre syndrome also comes to mind, although it usually progresses more rapidly and peaks much sooner than the time period during which you've been having this problem. It could be as simple as a vitamin B-12 deficiency. A neurological workup and blood tests would seem to be in order.

Again, by now I hope very much you've gotten an answer and also found a way to resolve or at least manage the problem. If you check in here please do follow up with us.
 kandy - Tue Jul 22, 2008 11:37 pm

Thank you for the answer. I researched briefly the 2 possibilities you mentioned and it seems they both start from the legs going upward, which is the opposite for me.. As a matter of fact, I no longer have any problems with my feet/legs. It's still just my hands, mainly the right one. It seems it wants to do involuntary movements. For instance, if i scratch my nose slowly, my finger would make a sudden move and move an extra 1 inch more than what I was aiming for. Could CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME be it? When i exercise, or shower in hot water, it seems that my hand is very heavy and my fingers have alot of difficulty doing things that require precision.
 John Kenyon, CNA - Fri Jul 25, 2008 11:07 pm

User avatar Hello again -

GB syndrome does, almost always, start at the extremities and work its way inward. Polyneuritis can "blossom" all over the place at once, but what you describe now sounds less like that (could have been a coincidence) and more like a nerve compression or entrapment, perhaps the ulnar nerve, which usually causes the pinkie and next finger the most problem (sometimes rendering them numb) but also can cause spasticity, slowness, cramping, etc., in the whole hand. Carpal tunnel syndrome can also cause these symptoms, but usually with a good deal of local pain as well. Ulnar entrapment can occur anywhere from the carpal tunnel on up to the elbow, then at the thoracic outlet and even at the cervical spine. This would be worth a nerve conduction and muscle function test for sure (electromyelogram). This test could now quite possibly at least isolate the hand problem and lead to a remedy.

I hope this is helpful and please keep us updated.

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