Task-specific dystonia, also known as “writers cramp” can occur in people who do repetitive movements.
It gets its name task-specific because classically, it only occurs during one specific task. It can be inherited, secondary to an underlying neurologic cause, or occur sporadically.
It is often initiated by voluntary movement with symptoms “overflowing” into adjacent muscles causing involuntary muscle cramping of adjacent fingers, wrist, and can include forearm. It can sometimes resemble a tremor. The most common task-specific dystonia is writers cramp, but this also frequently occurs in musicians due to the repetitive motions of playing an instrument. Treatments range from conservative measures such as occupational therapy and stretching to Botulinum toxin (Botox) injections of affected muscles if severely limiting function.
The most important thing is that patients receive a thorough evaluation by a neurologist to look for/rule out an underlying disease process. This may include lab work, MRI, and/or Nerve conduction study/electromyography.
If you believe you may have task-specific dystonia, please contact usto request an appointment at 501-661-0816