I saw my doctor today (not neuro), and he says I have 'cogwheel rigidity' in my left arm. When he flexed it at the elbow he could feel several distinct 'ratchets' instead of a smooth motion. I can't feel this at all. He says this also fits with the type of arm and hand tremor I have. According to him, these are symtoms of Parkinson's disease.
When I got home I (natch) looked this up on the Web. Apparently there are no specific tests for Parkinson's, and I'm not even sure about diagnostic criteria. I do match some of the description, but not a lot, and the places I match are where the symtoms are more like MS. I don't have a shuffling gait, I can swing my arms just fine, and I don't drool (yet), among many other facets.
This doctor didn't test my leg movement, and my legs are where I have a lot of tension and pain. He knows I have an appointment coming up in a couple of weks at Hopkins so didn't say much more. Maybe he doesn't even know more or maybe Parkinson's is the only neuro disease he's familiar with.
Can someone give me some info? Is cogwheel rigidity characteristic of anything other than Parkinson's?
Cogwheel rigidity is characterized by a "ratcheting" movement as the examiner tries to move the limb. Rigidity is a resistance to movement in both directions, while spasticity has a greater resisance to movement in one direct only and in "velocity-dependent" - more resistance the fast you attempt to move.
Almost all features of movement disorders can be seen in MS. Patients have bee described with both Parkinson's and MS and I saw that some MS patients have been noted to have some "cogwheel rigidity", but not had PD. It's not, apparently a really common occurrence, but it has been observed.
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