Common Causes of Hand Cramps

Common Causes of Hand Cramps
Do the muscles in your hands sometimes have unwanted movements? Do your fingers sometimes straighten or bend unprompted? Do you sometimes lose your grip on objects or feel uncoordinated fingers? If so, you may be suffering from an extremely common nerve problem in the hand: hand cramps. The medical name for hand cramps is focal dystonia, and they are sometimes referred to as writers' cramps or musicians' cramps because they happen often in writers and musicians.

Here are some common causes of hand cramps:
  • Increase in movement that irritates the nerves in the hand (i.e., playing an instrument longer)
  • Increase in more complicated motions of the hand
  • Change in technique for a task you're used to
  • Increased anxiety
  • Genetic factors
Hand cramps are a problem that can be treated in a variety of different ways; however, they typically cannot be treated with surgery. Depending on your specific symptoms, your hand cramps could potentially be treated by neurologists, psychologists, rehabilitation specialists, hand surgeons and/or hand therapists, and potentially a combination of two or more of these professionals.

The best form of treatment for hand cramps is avoiding or cutting back on the activities that seem to cause the cramps. For some, especially those who play music or write professionally, this may be difficult. If you cannot avoid the activity, consider changing the position of your hands during the task, avoiding long sessions and getting plenty of rest in between the necessary activities. 

Other treatment options, besides prevention, may include:
  • Medication
  • Injections
  • Splints
  • Psychotherapy
Start by seeing a hand surgeon to determine the best treatment options for you. Your hand surgeon will recommend certain treatments or another professional.
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