CRAMPED BY OCCUPATION
A classic example of occupational cramp is the writer’s cramp in which attempt to write causes spasm of related muscles that help in holding and moving the pen and may spread to the whole upper limb. Movements are jerky, making the writing illegible. Similar problem may occur in others while typing, painting, playing piano etc.
This is basically a functional nervous disorder prone to afflict those whose occupation entails persistent use of finely coordinated movements, especially of the hand, characterized by progressive occupational disability, due to spasm of muscles employed which are often the site of pain and sometimes tremors.
The condition is caused partly by changes in the brain and partly by psychogenic inputs. This disorder resembles stammering — another functional disorder of finely coordinated movements.
Excessive fatigue and effort to carry out tasks against tight deadlines act as triggers that precipitates the state.
Management:- Prolonged rest from occupation,
Psychological analysis and treatment,
Education and counseling,
‘De-conditioning” the person and very gradual return to work,
Rarely suitable medication to alleviate the symptoms.
As against the Writer’s Cramp, the Repetitive Stress Disorder that occurs in prolonged computer keyboard users is an organic problem. This results from the stress injuries to the fingers, palm and wrist.
TEXT MESSAGER”S THUMB DISORDER:
Arises from chronic indulgence in ‘SMSing”. Basically, it is an inflammation of the tendon sheath of the thumb — technically called Tenosynovitis. Only handful of cases have been reported so far. The victim of a recently reported case apparently sent 100 SMSs each day!!