A search term on my blog recently was the title above “synergy movement with tremors.” I got all those things!!
Synergistic movement occurs when (because of the signals coming down form your brain being all messed up) a group of muscles involuntarily moves along with the group of muscles that you are actually trying to move. It’s weird and horrible.
Example – one of my memories from being in the hospital was when I would attempt walking, my entire right side of my body would contract. I mean everything, my shoulder would raise, my elbow would bend, my fist would curl. And I was just concentrating on using my legs and putting one foot in front of the other without falling. That’s synergy. Using my incredibly delicate, traumatized, vulnerable, fragile brain, I asked the PT treating me why this was happening and she couldn’t explain it to me or just flat out didn’t know. Thank u, next.
Now, add in tremors, cause I have those too. During OT, one of the things my OT was working on was trying to get me to be able to use the fingers of my right hand independently. Didn’t work. It was all or nothing with them, they came as a package deal. If I tried to use one finger for something, the rest came along for the ride. I have an intention tremor (opposite of a resting tremor as you would see in a Parkinoson’s patient) as a result of the stroke so when I would intentionally try to use one finger, not only would my entire hand close up due to synergy, but it would also start shaking due to the intention tremor. Fun times, I must say.
One exercise I was given to do at home, and I did it all the time, was to lay my hand flat to lessen any effects of the tremor kicking in and attempt to ‘strum‘ my fingers – lift each one independently. It took months but I could eventually do that. Now I have a whole lot more control over my right hand than I used to. The action of touching your thumb to each individual finger is called opposition. I couldn’t do that at first, I can now. Some animals can’t inherently perform this action (non-primates) because of the whole no opposable thumbs thing. (Cats and Dogs)
In my experience, synergistic movement relaxes a lot after the first year. That first year after your brain is traumatized it doesn’t know what signal to send where and synergistic movement is terrible. After that first year, it seems to lessen as the brain begins to sorts itself out and figure out where to send what signals. Tremor – still have that, not nearly as bad as I used to but still got it.