Motor re-training and immobilisation in the treatment of writer’s cramp: a clinical and fMRI study
1 Department of Extrapyramidal Diseases, Medical University of Lodz, Łódź, Poland
2 Department of Radiology, Medical University of Lodz, Łódź, Poland
3 Department of Medical Rehabilitation, Medical University of Lodz, Łódź, Poland
4 Department of Radiology and Diagnostic Imaging, Barlicki University Hospital, Medical University of Lodz, Łódź, Poland
Correspondence: Agata Gajos MD, PhD, Department of Extrapyramidal Diseases, Medical University of Lodz, Pomorska Str. 251, 92-213 Łódź, Poland, e-mail: agata.gajos@umed.lodz.pl
Aktualn Neurol 2018, 18 (2), p. 68–73
DOI: 10.15557/AN.2018.0009
ABSTRACT

Objectives: The aim of the paper was to: (1) evaluate the effectiveness of the physiotherapeutic program in writer’s cramp, (2) compare the brain activity while writing in patients with writer’s cramp and in healthy controls, (3) compare the brain activity of subjects with writer’s cramp before and after the physiotherapy. Material and methods: Nine patients with diagnosed writer’s cramp and nine age-matched healthy controls were studied. The functional magnetic resonance imaging while writing was performed in the writer’s cramp subjects and in the controls. The patients with writer’s cramp participated in a 3-week therapeutic program of individualised exercises in combination with the immobilisation of the affected limb. The functional magnetic resonance imaging was repeated after completing the therapeutic program. Results: Only the results of the coil drawing test significantly improved after completing the therapeutic program. All other clinical tests did not reveal any significant changes after the therapy. Activation of primary motor cortex, premotor cortex and primary sensory cortex was observed while writing in the subjects with writer’s cramp and in the controls. Brain activation in clusters located in the areas BA4, BA7, BA18 and BA37 was more pronounced in the writer’s cramp group. Individual analysis revealed a significantly increased activation of the cerebellum in the writer’s cramp patients and it decreased after physiotherapy. Conclusion: In the writer’s cramp subjects, functional magnetic resonance imaging revealed increased – when compared to the controls – activity of several brain structures while writing. This activity was modified by individualised physiotherapeutic program.

Keywords: writer’s cramp, motor re-training, immobilisation, functional MRI