The Society provided funding to the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery to research the use of hand therapy for the treatment of focal hand dystonia.

Here is their report:

Task-specific dystonia (TSD) is a disorder where loss of movement control occurs during skilled movement such as playing an instrument or writing. This is particularly debilitating for musicians’ whose livelihood depends on performing to a high standard. Medical treatments have limited longterm effect.There is evidence to support the use of rehabilitation, but randomised controlled trials have not been undertaken.

We conducted a feasibility study of rehabilitation for TSD to inform key design features of a randomised controlled trial. A six month sensory-motor rehabilitation programme was designed and implemented. Fifteen patients with either musicians or writer’s dystonia were recruited. Twelve completed the programme. They attended a maximum of six therapy sessions and were asked to undertake a daily home exercise programme. Outcome measures were undertaken by an independent assessor at zero, three and six months and video analysis at zero and six months’ post intervention. At six months 11 out of 12 participants reported improvement. Whilst commonly used dystonia rating scales did not detect change, measures of quality of life and objective video rating measures improved in most participants.

This study demonstrates this rehabilitation intervention is feasible to deliver and acceptable, with high retention and adherence, and supports the development of controlled trials in this area.