A patient walked in to my clinic today (I had seen him a few years earlier) wondering if we could help him with his unique problem. He had just one complaint – For the last two years his handwriting had been deteriorating.
He is an intelligent, well-read, and knowledgeable individual of middle age, and he had already visited a few Doctors (including a Neurologist), got several blood tests done, and no one had found anything really wrong with him. He had been prescribed all the vitamins that could be required for a “nerve” problem, and he was diligently consuming them. He was active (in his own words, he would jog every day, but his speed had reduced over the last few years), worked at his job, and was in general healthy and well.
But he was frustrated – no one had a diagnosis, and no one had a solution. Meanwhile, his deteriorating handwriting made it difficult for him to sign, creating a practical difficulty. Besides, he was worried about it.
During a detailed examination, I found a slight weakness on the right side of his body, and a very slight imperceptible tremor. An intelligent man, he knew this himself and asked me if it could be Parkinson’s disease. Well it could be. But a Neurologist had done a detailed examination a few days ago, and had not diagnosed him.
So this is what I think: If we do not have a diagnosis, do we NOT treat the symptoms using simple non-threatening methods? Oh we take a Combiflam if we have a head ache for God’s sake! And this is a man complaining of a very specific weakness that is causing him problems for the last two years!
I will put him on a very specific exercise plan. We will start with strengthening of his Shoulder girdle muscles (Proximal stabilizers), and upper arm muscles. Over the next few weeks we will choose elbow and wrist muscles for our strengthening program, while increasing the work of the stabilizers. Lastly we will concentrate on fine motor skills, working on finger grip strength and functional tasks. In fact while we are at it, we may design a whole body routine improving flexibility, core strength, and lower body strength too, with his permission.
I cannot say with surety if my plan for him will work, but what’s the harm in trying? Besides, a well-planned strength training program rarely fails us. I am hoping to see him do better in the next few months: I will keep you posted!