My Left Arm


#1
I know that I am not alone in this, it is a common enough symptom of PD, but I don't understand it.
When I walk my left arm does not automatically swing in rhythm. The right arm does!
Left one is otherwise fully functional although, whilst I am walking it almost feels as though it is not connected. Yes, it will swing if I think about it but if I want to talk and walk at the same time it just hangs loose. I don't understand the mechanism, what is going on?.
By comparison the right arm swings, is functional, but despite therapy is painful when I try to raise it above the shoulder.
Ain't life fun

#2
yup. first i realised something was wrong was that i found i was walking around with left arm crooked as if carrying an imaginary cup of tea!

#3
Hi CW

Is your left hand the one with the tremor ? My tremor is in my left arm and I find that I have to make a concious effort to make it swing when I walk. I wonder whether the cause is a subconscious way of stopping the tremor. When I mentioned this to my pd nurse, she said that it was part of parkinsons and I should fight the urge to let the arm hang loose - huh! easier said than done.

#4
Yep exactly the same for me.:rolling_eyes:

PB x

#5
apologies if i start to lecture!

i believe that there is nothing wrong with your arm, the problem is, of course entirely in your brain. there is a part of your brain dependent on dopamine that has a feedback control of movement. one side is stuffed stopping the arm-swinging - the whole process of walking is controlled by a low-level process that we are usually unaware off. your leg is probably also dragging and you may trip. walking is a sort of controlled fall forward and is quite complex. try keeping your head up and walking 'big' (look it up for more detail) - imagine you are john wayne! your arm might start to swing a little.

the sore shoulder is caused by one muscle in th coltrolling pair being more affeced by dopamine induced messages than the other. try stretches every day and avoid lifting things above shoulder height.

here endeth the lecture

cheers

#6
Hi,
My left arm stopped swinging when I walked approx 18 months / 2 years before I finally went to the GP.

I have found that if I carry my work bag in my right hand whilst walking the left arm swings as good as it ever did. But that's the only way it'll swing without me "thinking" about.

#7
Try singing or humming or counting beats while you walk - makes your walking more regular and I find the arm swings more easily in time with the beat. Mind you,, I do get funny looks from people when they hear me counting outloud or singing in the street!

#8
Thank you for your response to my original query, it is nice to know that you are not alone.
Having been a military person for a good number of years I tend to miss the arm swinging bit. Strangely, standing 'at ease', feet slightly apart and arms behind the back I find to be a good position to stretch my arm muscles.
I guess I can live with it.
On a new tack, anybody tried beetroot juice?

#9
the 'prince philip' walk is very good for maintaing good posture.
why beetroot juice and what do you do with it?

#10
Hi Turnip i understand beetroot is the new super food !!! high in antioxigents & according to programme on tele supposed to speed us up, guess we should try it , well it can't do any harm. My left arm doesn't work when walking so tend to put my hand in my pocket,hard when no pockets, :flushed: regards to all PD Marie

#11
Hi CW,

my understanding of what's happening with PD is this:
there are two chemicals ("neurotransmitters") in our brain that control movement - acetylcholine, which is used for telling our muscles to tighten and contract, and dopamine, which is used for relaxing and extending.
You no doubt know that PD is a lack of dopamine. So this means that the acetylcholine / dopamine ratio is out of balance. This makes it harder for our muscles to relax. If you concentrate, you can make your arm swing like "normal", but without that effort your arm is stiffer and more resistant to movement, including swinging while walking.
It also explains why your arm might curl up slightly (the muscles are all in a default state of contracting), and the "cogwheel" effect seen in PD where extending your arm back out seems notchy.
Interestingly, this means that an alternative treatment to PD that's currently being investigated is, rather than increase the dopamine level with levodopa, using drugs that reduce the acetylcholine level to bring the two back in balance.

I've found this understanding of PD makes certain treatments and therapies make sense to me - if all that's happening is our muscles are getting too tight, then things like stretching, yoga, hot baths, anything that helps the muscles relax again will obviously help, even if just in the short term.

#12
quite right about acetylcholine, however nothing is for free and lowering acetylcholine can have unfortunate side effects including memory loss, depression and etc ...
perhaps a good compromise would be to lower one and raise the other at the same time?

i have found stretching to be absolutely essential. and its not necessarily the muscle thats sore. i have helped my very painful achilles tendon by stretching my quadriceps. shoulders affect foot muscles. pd tries to contact us into the foetal position so the important stretches are those against this tendency - those curving towards the back.

hot baths would be great but i would need a crane to get out.

cheers

#13
I am also a great believer in stretching.

I recently bought a back-stretcher for about £12 plus postage from [name of a river in South America]. Lying on it is bliss and I sometimes fall asleep - although getting off can sometimes be a challenge and I find I have to roll off sideways! I also have a back support for my computer chair (about £7 from the same place), which is SO comfortable and makes a huge difference to my posture.

I find leg stretches (calf, hamstring, etc) to be invaluable, too.

#14
Well you live and learn. I've had this condition for 9 years officialy and these are the best explanations I've ever read.

I looked up the congo backstretcher and computer chair, but struckout (you dont need to reply, i know. i'm trying to be funny. Mrs Eck would say I'm just trying).

"TAXI"

#15
Your posts usually make me laugh out loud, Mr Eck. Not sure whether to feel a teensy bit sorry for Mrs Eck, though! :neutral_face:

#16
Hi turnip
I have the problem with my right arm lucky me I'm right handed and drag my right foot.i ve tried using it more but that make it ache more.but changing the subject a bit I've started to freeze but it's only going through doorways or the safety gate in the kitchen.anyone have the same happen.
John

#17
i am lucky that I that i am ambidextrous and have learned to use my right hand for the things i used to use my left hand for. I have a theory about freezing (which some respectable scientists also hold) that the problem is sensory over-load. My pet treatment idea is to try closing your right eye (in your case) to reduce the input. Blinking might also help. Lastly closing both eyes and stepping forward is an option. If you try these let me know the results.
cheers
t

#18
ps a trick for writing with your left hand or generally using the 'wrong' hand is to place your right hand finger over the left hand. the right hand 'knows' what to do and the left hand is steady enough to do it. works for some people on some tasks eg shaving.

#19
Hi turnip thanks for the reply I have alot of issues going off at the moment but still smiling inside.i think the bells palsey on top of pd makes things worse.ill try that about freezing ..just a few things that's happened or happening.

Choke and bite tongue when eating
Red burning scales face
Continuos headache
Bad cramps in cafe muscle and hands
Freezing
Trembling in both hands know and slightly in body
Drag right foot
Spasms my arms or body will jump three. Inches uncontrolled mainly when resting
Rare blinking
Swollen gland in neck
General slowness and stiff

But alot of this has come on in a year I've had the shuffling feet for 15year I'm just hoping its pd and not msa
All the best and thank s
Ps as you can see by the time. I can't sleep either
John

#20
potter john
- thats one hell of a list. my sincere sympathies. i believe its very hard to tell msa from pd often, the 15 years pre-dx symptom and the one-sidedness of some symptoms point towards pd - lets hope so anyway. the swollen gland and scales are not something i've seen much mention of. perhaps you have several illnesses and one has triggered of an acceleration in the pe-existing pd?
hope you are feeling better soon
t