View Full Version : Neurological term for a symptom

01-02-2011, 04:01 PM
This is based on something I have (because it's easy to write what I know), but I'm going to sound like an eejit and not know what it's called.

I have a neurological disease that progressed to a point before Dx and treatment. Once things worked, we didn't delve into terms for things. The disease is Subacute Combined Degeneration of the Spinal Cord. I'm on B12 for life, totally fine and all that. No worries about the remaining symptoms, other than how they are annoying and things, obviously :)

The symptom that I know nothing medically about is a shaky head. Nobody can see it, but I can feel it, and it's irritating. Often, I literally hold my head still so that I don't feel it and that does work for the most part. It's like my head tries to move on its own, very slightly but it feels fairly forceful. It's not a sensation I can make happen consciously or mimic. It's worse when I'm tired.

I have something called an 'intention tremor' on the touch-your-nose test. This may be called that, too? I just don't know the terms. IRL that works fine, but I don't want to sound like an eejit as an author :) :) My character would know what it's called.


01-02-2011, 04:15 PM
Oh! And another one, if you're on a roll. I'm not sure I'll use this one, but there's an eye thing. If my eyes are tired, they go back and forth super fast. Not many times in a spell (like once), but fairly often when I'm tired. Folks have seen that one (much laughter cos it's pretty crazy looking, apparently :D). I've told the docs, of course, but again I have no terms for these things :)

Drachen Jager
01-02-2011, 09:32 PM
The first is an essential tremor.
The second is a form of saccade (http://search.medicinenet.com/search/search_results/default.aspx?navState=4294924268&sourceType=all&Search=Search&query=saccade)

01-02-2011, 11:36 PM
You're good! Thank you :)

01-03-2011, 12:52 AM
BSB, I think you could be describing a lot of things. Mostly they sound like tremors (not necessarily essential tremors). The head movement sounds more like a spasm (torticollis?), but anything is possible if you have upset your nervous system. The eye movement might be nystagmus (there's bound to be a video of it on YouTube!).

01-03-2011, 08:45 AM
The eye movement might be nystagmus

That was my first thought. Had that myself with labyrinthitis.

You could call your neurologist and ask him (or his nurse) and then you'd know for sure.

01-04-2011, 02:32 AM
Thank you, Kenn and cornetto! It does sound like nystagmus. I'd wait for my next appointment rather than call, because those folks are slammed with patients (it's a specialty pain clinic, while our regular docs in the area basically refuse to treat certain things). It's not important in the scheme of things :)


01-17-2011, 01:14 AM
Just consider--while it might have a technical name--your reader might not understand it if it's not explained. "tremor" should suffice. (Although if it's not visible--there's an entirely different ball of wax when something is perceived but not happening)

01-17-2011, 01:22 AM
The second one is definitely nystagmus. There are several kinds: there is a fast component one direction with a slow component back to the midline. Rotary nystagmus is more rare -- the eye balls go round and round.

01-18-2011, 09:13 PM
Just to be pedantic, neurologists would call your first symptom titubation--any tremor or bobbing movement of the head.

01-19-2011, 02:30 AM
Thank y'all so much! I know that the technical terms may not make any sense to the reader, but I wanted to know them so I know my options.

Nystagmus should do. I have no idea what it really looks like on me, just what it feels like :D It feels like a fast back-and-forth, but I'll try to notice if it's just fast one way. How interesting. It happens very quickly.

These things are happening, and neurologists can see things other folks don't notice. I just mean the head thing is not noticeable to people in the room with me, or anything. It doesn't resemble Michael Fox, etc, for instance.

01-19-2011, 03:17 AM
I was thinking Nystagmus too based on the Google feedback. :)

01-19-2011, 06:40 AM
You can bring on nystagmus by squirting ice water on the ear drum. I do that from time to time to test a patient's brain stem function.

01-19-2011, 07:10 AM
Here's some info on tremors from Merck: http://www.merckmanuals.com/home/sec06/ch091/ch091c.html

01-19-2011, 04:41 PM
You can bring on nystagmus by squirting ice water on the ear drum. I do that from time to time to test a patient's brain stem function.

Why do I see that as a good drunken party trick, bwahaha?!

That's fascinating. Thank you! Does it bring on nystagmus in everyone?

Fenika, that's an excellent link. Thank you!