Stiff hand

Hi. I was diagnosed with PD a year ago, although now I realise the signs had been there for a couple of years. I'm a 57 year old woman and reasonably well. I'm not on any prescribed medication yet for the PD and would like to defer it as long as I can. I am experimenting with Mucuna Puriens and use the gym most days. My right side is not affected yet but my left side is quite weak, especially my arm and hand. My left hand is getting more and more useless and there is little movement in my fingers. I can grip a steering wheel and feel my driving is still safe but am worried for the future - driving is pretty important to me, especially for work. Does anyone have any experience of this and in particular are there any exercises? It's difficult to wiggle my fingers even a little now although I can curl them down into my palm.

41 Replies

  • You are on the right track with exercise but don't do the same thing day after day vary your routine

    crossfit is great for PD

    You need to see your Dr. and get some meds

    Meds can bring your arm and hand back to life

    I have the same thing only my right hand and arm

    my meds (sinamate 25/100) gets the job done for me

    read my post

    I am 61 (9 years with PD)

    I can not write my name with out Meds

    But with Meds i can write as much as i want

    don't be afraid of Meds they do help

    take as little as possible to get the results you need

    good luck

  • Stevie--

    I was diagnosed this past April, am 53, and otherwise healthy -- and pretty fit for my age. I notice stiffness in my right hand, and my right leg feels a bit off as does my walking. Consistent, rigorous exercise organically generates dopamine--and I feel hugely improved literally 16 minutes into a 30 minute workout. I am also just starting ' rapinirole' (sp?).

    My advice? Get your cardio going such that you're really sweating and your heart-rate is really pumping, and do this five days/ week. Take a break every two days, and start incorporating free weights in your routine, once you've completed cardio. Also...

    1) Buy the book 'Dumbells & Dopamine', to learn more about the benefits of exercise.

    2) Get your dr to prescribe some meds. My prescription, while early goings, feels like it's helping.

    Good luck, stay positive, and get yourself kicking butt in the gym. You can do it!


  • Agree totally with you. Can be a bit daunting at first as I used to hate the gym idea but it's the best thing I've done. Good Luck

  • Stevie, I was diagnosed 2 yrs ago at 70 and have avoided meds until now. My left hand is showing similar symptoms as yours and my left leg isn't as responsive as it used to be. I found taking Mucuna every 90 mins during the day to be very cumbersome although I know of several people locally who are having success with it...more disciplined than I!

    I have been taking Mirapex for RLS (Restless Leg Syndrome) for over a year, but it is no longer as effective and I am having major problems sleeping. Am exhausted...regular sleep meds don't work.

    I am seriously considering going on Sinemet per my neurologist. Not a happy camper!

  • Sinemet works great

    been on it 1 year

    just hard to get does right

    but worth the trouble

  • having major problems sleeping?

    Try Timed Release Melatonin

  • Not too bad with the sleeping although I've noticed I don't sleep as well as I did. Melatonin is quite hard to get in the UK.

  • I just wanted to thank you for this, RoyProp. I ordered some from the states and it worked brilliantly. Took it for three weeks and it sorted out my sleep cycle.

  • Report says taking too long will disrupt the body natural production

  • huh, thats intereresting, I've been taking melatonin 5mg for a year or so. I'm sleeping pretty well really, maybe I should stop it,

  • Sinemet which contains Levodopa as the main ingredient is, after some 40 or more years, still the best PD drug available.

    A large study recently concluded that taking this drug late does not delay the onset of Levodopa induced complications. In other words go ahead and try it. Some people may experience side effects but most don't and symptoms like gait freezing stiffnes and many more are treated successfully.

  • Thanks. I'm not sure what the equivalent of sinemet is in the UK. No doubt I'm about to find out!

  • Sinemet is Carbidopa and Levodopa

    I take Madopar which is functionally identical but instead of Carbidoper, Madopar has Benserside and Levodopa.

    I don't know if this true now but at one time Benserazside was not licenced in the USA so Madopar was also unavailable.

    So its either Sinemet or generic Madopar generic Co-beneldopa. There is a generic form of Sinemet called something or other and Carbidopa instead of Benserazide. There's lots of this stuff but I am feeling very tired. Each key press depletes my mostly drained store of energy. I expect I shall returned tomorrow after I have had an operation on my eyes. Not painful just scratchy irritating eyes for a couple of weeks


    Night Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

  • One of my first symptons was a left hand tremor. Now i have a stiffening arm/hand. Hurst most days and is very stiff when typing. I think i have had PD for five years but only diagnosed last Thursday. My neuroligist says once i get my meds up to the optimum dose i should be fine regarding my arm tremor and stiffness.

  • You know Parkinson affects each individuals differently !!

    Now I am 56 yrs old , I was diagnosed having Parkinsons symptoms in July 2010.

    I was managing without medication, no problems , except for manageable pains here & there.

    In 2013 Jan; the symptoms became more pronounced , I was advised my Neurosurgeon to go for Ayurvedic treatment ( 21 days oil treatments : Shirodhara, Body Massages ) for better Management ; this is how I landed up at Vaidyaratnam in Kerala (INDIA) . Second treatment here in Mar 2014 & my Third treatment is over due since June 2015 ; experienced much improvement ; but good feeling lasted for only 8 to 10 months ) . My Neurosurgeon also told me not to go for L-Dopa / Sindopa for the time being, stay with Ayurvedic Meds as long as possible.

    I am on 3 times daily ( Empty Stomach) ;Vaidhyaratnam Kappikachuu ( Indian Mucuna ) x 1 TBS in normal filtered water + 1/2 Lemon + 2 Big pcs of Water Melon ; this gives definitely quick action !!! ( 2 .5 to 3 hrs max ON time ) . After food followed by 1 x TBS Ashwagandharista , tabs also available; 3 times daily.

    I am currently experiencing following problems ; .

    > Left Hand tremor when I am under stress , left palm & fingers pain

    > Rolling in the Bed is bit difficult

    > Walking & other activities are slow during "OFF" time.

    > Some times I get cramps/ catch at foot base, toes ,calf muscle

    By the grace of God ; I can still drive car , scooter , ride bicycle on public roads to nearby work ( Banks, post office, vegetable market, grocery shops etc ) / Gym-cycle with rowing cross bar for 30 Min in the after noon , 2 Kms walking in the morning & evening , regular 13 Surya Namaskara & stretching Yoga ( one Hr each ) during early morning and evening. But becomes stiff ; by evening 4.00 PM onward ; so I sleep - off , by 9.30 PM ; wake up 4.15 AM to free exercise & yoga ; then I will be more normal.

  • I take it you don't have a tremor? I don't either, my left hand/arm and somewhat left leg are getting less responsive. I tried sinemet and madopar with only bad side effects, am currently taking selegeline and unsure of any benefit but at least no side effects! Most helpful thing for me has been doing LSVT Big Program, basically exercises that stimulate the brain to remember those unused pathways. (Neuroplasticity) Nothing is a cure but it has certainly helped me regain some unforced use of my left side, not to mention confidence and optimism. The brain is a complicated thing and Neuroplasticity training makes sense to me. Sounds like you're on to a good thing with daily gym, keep in mind the treatment is a constantly changing continuum, everything is worth trying! Cheers to you

  • My experience with 5year with Ayurvedic and other medicine is same.Both are not stopping the progress of disease.Some relief from Yoga/exercises but it it vanishes after an hour.Ultimately,is the DBS is the solution??????

  • Check out Low Dose Naltrexone. Good book on the sumject is HONEST MEDICINE

  • Everyone's PD is different but I was diagnosed 2 years ago, although probably had signs for 15 years before that. Not on meds yet and trying to use them as a last resort. I have no pressing needs or disabilities just a tremor that does not interfere with activities of daily living. No doctor has suggested I take meds yet because no meds stop progression or cure PD. I exercise vigorously every day. Yes I have stiffness and marked difference in arm swing but I am working on it daily.

    Good luck.

  • Racer - say a little about how you work on the stiffness and arm swing?

  • I also had minimal signs/symptoms of PD, was diagnosed by a geriatic MD, confirmed by Movements Disorder specialist at UCI & Loma Linda; was placed on minimal dosage of Sinemet and all my friends & family have notice the difference. You ask for our opinion, my opinion to you - & others- is to seak the care & opinion of a Movement Disorder Specialist, don't experiment by yourself. Good luck, do not defer.

  • I am indeed under the care of a consultant but my next appointment is not until January and although I am trying to get this brought forward have not managed to do so yet. This is why I'm asking if anyone has experience of anything else in case my hand seines up entirely before I can get the medication.

  • It's terrible that you have to wait that long. Are there other neurologists you could see in your town?

  • I live in the UK Becky - our system means we have to be referred to a neurologist by a doctor, you can't contact them directly. So, I have a neurologist and my next appointment is in January but I'm trying to get it brought forward by my doctor. No success yet!

  • Managed to get the appointment brought forward thanks Beckey - seeing him next week.

  • Stevie, your intro implied you are not wanting to take meds yet but this last post expresses concern that you can't get meds. If you are ready to start meds GPs can prescribe sinemet, or can contact your specialist on your behalf or if they won't there is PALS or you can make contact with PUK, help line on their web page.

    PUK has groups throughout the country and they can be invaluable support and local information resources.

    You describe classic PD symptoms so try not to worry, you are in this for the long haul and it will get sorted if you take meds. If you don't take meds you can try the methods of those who offer hope but you will find it only takes you a little way, personally I haven't met anyone who has managed long term without some medical treatment.

    We all need optimism and exercise, and in the end medicine.

  • Thanks Hikoi. I think what I have said is that I'd like to defer meds if I can but recognise that may not be possible. As left hand movements are now very difficult, I contacted the hospital this morning and explained my position - I'm hoping they can get me an earlier appointment. From what everyone is saying, it is medication that will sort this out. I'm interested in all approaches and as I'm a relative beginner, value everyone's experience.

  • Diagnosed same age as you and now in my 8 th year, best wishes. You are obviously being your own advocate - you are going to be fine yes I agree it's good to learn from others experience, I definitely have, I also know anyone can claim anything on line.

    Hope you get sorted very soon.

  • I forgot to mention exercise for your left hand & fingers. Please us e Squeeze Ball / Soft Ball, keep squeezing as often as possible , this help to regain finger movements, give strength to palm and right. At night, before going to bed, please apply Camphor oil to left arm, palm and fingers this helps to relieve pain , don't wash it, Camphor oil just evaporates quickly.

    Try this while walking in the morning & evening, this gives strength and movement to both hands, improves co-ordination, exercise to eyes and brain : I have been practicing own method with some success,which keeps me busy while walking, but bit tedious. While walking fast / practically bit running, I hit the tennis ball on the ground and catch it with other hand, do vise-versa all along. This makes to walk / run faster to catch the ball , in-between , I keep throwing up the ball in air bit forward and run & catch the ball with both the hands. Though it looks funny to on-lookers, I don't care !!.

  • Hi,

    I am very similar to you. Few years younger. Female. Left side effected and left hand & arm & leg stiff. Want to defer meds as long as possible.

    Have been doing exercise from fightingparkinsonsdrugfree....

    I got this from someone here about a year ago and have been telling people here about it lately too. I have some other improvement, although not L hand & arm &leg yet. I also saw Bianca Mole's website too, if you want to explore it.

    If you don't believe in this sort of exercise then please disregard. I'm only trying to share info.

  • Here's what I suggest: Ask your neurologist to refer you for several visits to a physical therapist who specializes in neuro difficulties. . You will not only feel so much better after each session, but you will bring home a whole regimen of exercises you can do on your own.

  • Hi Stevie. It is difficult to explain to patients that the part of our brain that is affected by Pd. is the part that processes our sub-conscious movements. We don't think about how we walk, we only think about where we walk and how fast we walk. The same with writing. We don't think how we write a word or sentence we only think about what we want to write. When it comes to simple hand movements that we do on a regular basis, I would suspect that they are mostly handled by our subconscious brain. If that is so then you can try to do hand exercises that definitely use your conscious brain. In order to be certain about this, try doing some hand exercise that you have not done before, or do it in a different way. For instance, if you normally exercise your hands while holding them down by your side, then put your arms in a different position, like up in front of you, then do the exercises. It may be rather tiring but you soon get used to the extra effort. PLease tell me if it works.

    Kind regards


  • Don't be afraid of medication - it sorted out my hand which works fine until melds wear off. Do as much physical exercise as you can as well but don't be a martyr - you won't need a large dose of Sinemet or the equivalent to notice the difference.

  • You can try contracting the muscles and then releasing and qi gong.

  • Thanks for the responses. I'm doing a lot of what has been suggested and I'm having good results with exercise, just because it keeps me moving, but the hand is reaching a point where driving could get difficult. I've been able to bring my neurologist appointment forward and am seeing him in ten days time. I will see what he says but I'm thinking I will probably need to think seriously about medication. The experiences of others are very useful.

  • For me, driving has become a misery. :-( Within a mile or two -- no problem. But any longer, between shifting gears and steering, the pain spreads up my arm and into my back and it'a awful.

  • Oddly, Beckey, that's how I knew something was very wrong. I thought my clutch was sticking because I had such trouble pushing it down. When my husband said it wasn't, I realised it was because I was losing strength in my leg. However, after I was diagnosed we traded my car in for an automatic and I find that pretty easy to deal with. But my hand is very stiff now which is what has happened to prompt my visit to the neurologist. I'm hoping some meds will sort that out as I drive to and from work - there isn't a station nearby.

  • I have been diagnosed PD almost 9 years. And it don"t get any better. I'm am sorry to hear that you have it.the best thing you can do is try to keep a good attitude. I know that sounds crazy, but you can't do nothing about but put it in Gods hands. did you say that you live near London, England.Well my Grandfather was born some where near there. His name was William Henry Arthur Bell. He was born in 1892 and died in 1970. Good luck. David Bell

  • I am 70 yrs of age and have had PD now for 6 years (I had it approx. 12-18 mths before diagnosis by neurologist 5 yrs ago). My left hand was quite stiff, among other symptoms - ie, resting tremors in left hand, when walking my left arm would not swing and leaning posture. I have been on medication for approx 5 years, increasing when necessary and it has helped in alleviating my symptoms. I also walk as much as I can and do an hour strength training twice a week. I also do line dancing (beginners) once a week when it is possible to do so. I also have depression so am on medication for that. Depression is common with people who are diagnosed with PD. Try not to worry about the future. I am not sure if you are seeing a neurologist - I strongly advise that you do. Make sure you do some form of daily exercise, walking or strength training. Believe me, it helps. A positive attitude helps. I do not know what the future holds for me regarding PD but I live for the present moment. Good luck.

  • Hi I would suggest going to the gym and if you can get a personal trainer who knows about PD. I was getting weaker in my legs. .... like trying to stand up from sitting was finding I had to pull my self up. My right hand was weak but with the help of my trainer I can now stand and find I have a lot more strength. Think its a case of use it or lose it . It is hard some days but I just try and push on. I find if I make my self do some exercise with my arm and hand it's gets better. Wish you all the best in your journey with PD.

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