Motor training as treatment in focal hand dystonia

Mov Disord. 2005 Mar;20(3):335-41. doi: 10.1002/mds.20314.


Focal hand dystonia may arise as a result of aberrant plasticity from excessive repetitive use. Improvement might be possible with appropriate motor training. Focusing on trying to decrease abnormal overflow of movement to fingers not involved in a task, we developed a motor training program for individualized finger movements. Ten patients with writer's cramp participated in the motor training program. Evaluation was done with the Fahn dystonia scale, kinematic analysis of handwriting, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), and electroencephalography (EEG). Clinical improvement of dystonia was significant using the Fahn dystonia scale, and 6 patients reported an improvement in writing. The handwriting analysis showed a trend for improvement after training in simple exercises. There were no changes in cortical excitability measured by TMS and EEG. Whereas this method of motor training for 4 weeks led to mild subjective improvement and some improvement in handwriting, it is not sufficient to reverse motor cortex abnormalities measured by TMS and EEG.

MeSH terms

  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology
  • Dystonia / diagnosis
  • Dystonia / physiopathology*
  • Dystonia / therapy*
  • Dystonic Disorders / physiopathology
  • Dystonic Disorders / therapy
  • Electroencephalography
  • Electromyography / instrumentation
  • Evoked Potentials, Motor / physiology
  • Fingers / physiology
  • Hand / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Magnetics / instrumentation*
  • Middle Aged
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Teaching / methods*
  • Wrist / physiology