Parkinson's Movement
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Is anyone familiar with the term, "ratcheting"?

Increasingly, during the past year, raising my right arm against pressure has caused the movement to come in short, jerky segments. My neuro referred to them as "cogwheel rigidity or ratcheting). She explained that, each time a muscle contracts, another opposing muscle must relax to let desired movement occur. In PWP the messages become confused and the muscles oppose each other causing a "ratcheting", jerky reaction over which the PWP has litle control. It causes no problem in handling a 2 0z. teacup, but can turn a 16 pound bowling ball into a dangerous missile.

I'M sure the above is not "news" to most of you, but I had not heard the term. I was hoping that someone may have found an exercize or a medication which might provide some control. Bowling is the last remnant of "Life before Parkie" and I hate to give it up, although it is a very minor problem compared to most.

Wishing you all well.

6 Replies

Yes, my vocabulary is expanding as my range of motion decreases. There is probably some exercises you can be doing so you can continue your bowling. I can dance still, even when I can't walk :D I actually danced on stage with a non-PD group for 20 seconds. Then I almost toppled off but caught myself. whew


gang nam style. wish I had a video :P


Yes, I copied this information directly from the National Parkinson Foundation website

Four Main Motor Symptoms of PD:

Shaking or tremor

Slowness of movement, called bradykinesia

Stiffness or rigidity of the arms, legs or trunk

Trouble with balance and possible falls, also called postural instability.

When my internist made the initial diagnosis, he used the elbow and shoulder range of motion and told me to listen and feel for a clicking or ratcheting sound. We both could hear it quite clearly on the right side and much less on the left. My neurologist/movement specialist still does the same thing at every visit.


Yes I also have cogwheel also in both shoulders I have not specifically found anything to help I do lift weights and exercise hoping this helps m shoulders


Ronn the drug treatment for this problem is Sinemet or an agonist drug - just the usual Parkinsons meds. With good medication control i'm sure you'll be playing bowls for a while yet.


Whenever I see my neurologist, he manipulates my arms to determine the degree of ratcheting. Often I have none, but depending upon the time of day and when I last took my medication, I usually have a little. The way her performs the exam is to cup my elbow with one of his hands and use the other to hold my wrist and move the arm up and down (abduction to adduction.


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