Writer's Cramp

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Writer’s Cramp


(writer’s palsy, writer’s spasm, graphospasm), a disturbance of the writing function that occurs even though the muscles of the hand remain fully capable of performing other movements. Writer’s cramp is observed in neuroses and organic diseases of the nervous system and is often a manifestation of occupational pathology. It is characterized by dystonia, an uneven tone in the muscles used in writing. Certain muscles experience a spasm (tonic tension); pain spreads through the entire arm, neck, and face, the fingers holding the pen assume an unnatural position, and writing becomes impossible. There are various clinical forms of writer’s cramp: convulsive, algetic, trembling, and paralytic; most often these occur in combination in patients with a history of neurotic symptoms. In treatment the patient is advised to temporarily stop writing and is prescribed tranquilizers, B-complex vitamins, and exercise, massage, baths, and other physiotherapeutic procedures.


Davidenkov, S. N. Klinicheskie lektsiipo nervnym bolezniam. Leningrad, 1956.
Barré, J. A. “La Crampe des écrivains, maladie organique, ses formes, ses causes.” Revue neurologique, 1952, vol. 86, no. 6, p. 703.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.