For many people in the MultipleSclerosis.net community, Anita Williams’ article was a game-changer. Williams wrote openly and honestly about how this diagnosis affects her arms.
This is something that is not often talked about in the community. But it seems it should be. This article stirred the community, leading folks to realize they are not alone in facing this symptom.
To dive deeper into what this issue looks like for community members, we reached out on the MultipleSclerosis.net Facebook page. We asked, “Foot drop is a commonly discussed MS symptom, but what about arm drop?”
More than 400 people commented. Here is what was shared:
Understanding of the issue
An overwhelming number of folks with MS shared that they have arm spasms and lack of functioning in one or both arms. Many did not realize that other people with MS deal with this same problem. Several thought their arm problems were due to their physical jobs and not a result of MS. There is comfort in people knowing that they are not alone and in finding out the real cause.
“I completely understand this kind of pain and, before reading this article, felt I was alone. It is comforting to know that I am not.”
“For the longest time, I thought I knew no one with arm problems like mine.”
“I thought it was just me who dealt with trouble in my arm.”
Dropping things constantly
For many community members, this shows up as dropping things at unexpected times. Many with MS cannot trust themselves to hold anything – coffee, keys, or even a baby. Some have adjusted by buying things that can withstand being dropped, like protective cases for cell phones.
“I hate dropping things.”
“I have been using plastic dishes for a very long time. I drop things more and more.”
“I will never have a phone without an Otter box and insurance on it thanks to this.”
Dealing with limited functionality, especially when arms are overhead
This issue can affect someone with MS by making it difficult to raise their arms overhead for more than a few moments. This can make it a challenge to blow-dry hair or put away groceries. Some community members do chores in short bursts with lots of breaks so their arms do not get tired.
“I cannot raise my arm all the way up.”
“I get where my fingers get stuck and I cannot move them. It actually hurts I have to pry them apart with my other hand.”
“If I hold my arms up, they start feeling weak.”
Having the problem only on one side
Many who deal with these symptoms find that only 1 arm is affected. The good news is that this leaves 1 arm with full function. But this also means learning how to work with 1 reliable arm. Some learn to use their non-dominant arm, which takes some getting used to.
“I have learned to do most stuff left handed, except writing.”
“Happens with my right hand and arm. Most of my issues are on my right, dominant, side. I cannot keep track of how many cups of coffee I have spilled because it is ingrained into my brain to use my right hand.”
We want to say thank you to everyone who shared for this story. Thank you for being a part of this community and showing so much support for one another.