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Date of last update: 10/04/2017.

Forum Name: Neurology Topics

Question: Jerking Movements of Hands

 Carolyn - Tue Sep 14, 2004 5:10 am

Dear Doctor:
Over the past year I have developed a problem with my hands when I try to hold something like a cup or glass. My hand will jerk and I will lose my grip on what I am holding. The longer I try to hold onto the item, the worse the jerking becomes. It is not like a shaking or tremor but rather my hand actually makes a sudden jerk. In order to hold a cup of coffee, I have to use both hands in order to prevent spillage.
For your information, in 1995 I had a cervical disk fusion of the C4-C5. The reason this was done was because I was developing weakness in my hands and was dropping things without realizing it. They did a myelogram and found I had decreased nerve signals. After the surgery was done, the Doctor said I would probably need the C5-C-6 and /or C6-C7 fused in the future. I had another myelogram done approximately 2 years ago due to increased pain radiating down my arms and was told the test was normal. At that time though, I was not experiencing these jerking movements.
I am almost afraid to go back to the Doctor because if they do another myelogram and it is normal, they wont do anything else to try to find out what is causing this. Are there any other tests that may help discover what is causing this? Do you feel this may be related to the original problem with the disk narrowing that caused me to have radicular neuropathy? I would appreciate any information or suggestions you could offer to help me find out what is wrong and how to correct it.
Thank you,

 Dr. Russell M - Tue Sep 14, 2004 11:52 am

User avatar Hi!

Are your current problems the same as that for which you had the fusion done in 1995?

 Carolyn - Tue Sep 14, 2004 6:52 pm

No, these symptoms are different. Before the fusion, I had weakness and pain down my arms and into my hands. At that time I would drop things because I couldnt feel my hands letting go of whatever I was holding. NOW, I don't feel any weakness, it is just that when holding something, my hands will give a sudden somewhat violent jerk (kind of like what happens to your body when you are startled), the jerking comes more often the longer I hold the item or the tighter I grip it. I have to use both hands to hold a cup of coffee or the jerking motions will cause me to spill it all and I have to set it down often to give my hands a rest. I do still have some radiating pain but I was told I would still feel some even after the fusion. However the weakness was gone after the fusion.
 Carolyn - Thu Sep 16, 2004 8:34 pm

I am still waiting. I answered the above question you asked and I am waiting for an anwswer from you.
Carolyn :cry:
 Dr. Russell M - Fri Sep 17, 2004 12:58 pm

User avatar Hi!

Sorry I took so long. Your symptoms seem like what is called hemiballismus, which can be benign or part of other diseases. A neurologist's expert opinion would be appreciated in this regards. Do you have history of huntington's disease in your family? Have you had rheumatic fever before?

 Carolyn - Fri Sep 17, 2004 5:29 pm

Hi Bill:
Thanks for answering me. No, no history of Huntingtons and I haven"t had Rheumatic Fever. I meant to get back to you about the condition worsening. I tried tensing up my arms or legs and sure enough the jerking motions occur there also. I was holding a magazine today and when I gripped it a little tighter and tensed my arm at the same time, my arm and hand started jerking so hard that the magazine went flying. If I am sitting and I tense my legs, they jerk so much it looks like I am dancing (not funny, looks weird). If this is hemiballismus, what can be done about it and what causes it? Am I going to spend my last years being called "The Jerk" Is my body destined to dance until the end? Please tell me there is hope. This seems to be getting worse as the weeks pass.
Thanks for helping,

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