involuntary fist clenching etc

This morning my wife's hand became involuntarily clenched into a very tight fist. She was only able to unclench it after the hand had been massaged for quite a long time. She says she felt no pain but that is not unusual as she is on a very high dose of amitriptyline to control the very high level of emotionality which in her case came as a freebe with psp (diagnosed 5.5 years ago). This drug is also a pain killer for nerve pain so she rarely seems to feel pain. Her neck and shoulder area is somewhat scrunched up on the same side with the illness and we have noticed recently that the same arm has sometimes moved strangely almost as though the muscle is in spasm.This mornings episode with the hand was new and a little bit scary.

Have any of you had any experience of this with your partners or better still have any tips as to what can be done.

3 Replies

  • Hi Coldown, my husband does this. I give him something to hold. When I worked in a nursing home, years ago, we used to roll flannels up and put them in the residents hands. I have given my husband various things eg foam balls, textured balls that flash lights when he squeezes them, smooth wooden cross and heart and several other textured items. At the moment he has a squishy rubber centipede and it encourages him to play with the wiggly legs and keep his fingers moving. I have found it important to keep his finger nails short as they dig into his palms if he isn't holding something. My husband's upper arms are almost fixed to his sides now even though I massaged them and straightened them every day and he exercised daily. One day he was suddenly unable to move them.


  • Hi i agree with the reply my late husband had this problem I also put flannels and foam in his hand as once his nail broke the skin on his hand. I really feel for all of you who are dealing with this terrible disease my husband passed 7 years ago with it and I just cannot believe that they have not found some sort of cure yet, God bless everyone those with it and especially those caring for them. xxxx

  • Initially used a pair of balled up socks to prevent the nails digging into the palms. As a permanent solution the OT provided a soft, leather covered, pad that had a thumb loop to keep it in place should the grip relax. After a time this particular symptom reduced in severity.

    Best wishes Jerry.

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