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Hand weakness Assessment Questionnaire

Questions Your Doctor May Ask - and Why!

During a consultation, your doctor will use various techniques to assess the symptom: Hand weakness. These will include a physical examination and possibly diagnostic tests. (Note: A physical exam is always done, diagnostic tests may or may not be performed depending on the suspected condition) Your doctor will ask several questions when assessing your condition. It is important to openly share any pertinent information to help your doctor make an accurate diagnosis.

It is also very important to bring an up-to-date list of all of your all medical conditions, medications including dosages, and names of numbers of any specialist you see.

Create your printable checklist by answering questions that your doctor may ask below:

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  1. How long have you noticed weakness in your hand?

    Why: to establish if acute or chronic.

  2. What areas of the hand are affected by the weakness?

    Why: may help determine cause of weakness e.g. movement at the wrist, knuckles or fingers.

  3. Are both hands affected by weakness and is it symmetrical?- helps determine which joints, muscles and /or nerves may be affected e.g. peripheral muscle weakness due to peripheral neuropathy is symmetrical compared with individual nerve, nerve root disease or stroke which should be suspected if weakness is asymmetrical or confined to one limb
  4. Is the arm also affected by the weakness?

    Why: helps to determine which muscles and/or nerves are affected.

  5. Aggravating factors?

    Why: helps to determine the cause of hand weakness e.g. muscle power decreases with use in myasthenia gravis.

  6. History of trauma?

    Why: e.g. whiplash injury; Brachial plexus injury; fall onto outstretched hand - can determine possible cause of hand weakness.

  7. Recent viral infection?

    Why: may suggest Guillain- Barre syndrome.

  8. Past medical history?

    Why: diabetes, porphyria and Guillain-Barre syndrome are causes of predominantly motor peripheral neuropathy ; diabetes , hypertension and high cholesterol are risk factors for cerebrovascular disease (strokes).

  9. Medications?

    Why: some medications can cause peripheral neuropathy e.g. amiodarone, phenytoin, nitrofurantoin; some medications may increase risk of thrombotic cerebrovascular disease e.g. oral contraceptive pill , hormone replacement therapy; some medications can increase the risk of hemorrhagic stroke e.g. warfarin.

  10. Cigarette smoking?

    Why: is a major risk factor for cerebrovascular disease.

  11. Alcohol history?

    Why: can be a cause of peripheral neuropathy.

  12. Family history?

    Why: Stokes, Diabetes, High Cholesterol, Hypertension, Hereditary motor and sensory neuropathy.

  13. Occupational history?

    Why: certain occupations requiring repetitive motions are at risk of causing work-induced overuse disorders with consequent muscle wasting and weakness e.g. process and meat workers are at risk of carpal tunnel syndrome due to rapid finger and wrist movement.

  14. Possible poisoning?

    Why: e.g. lead poisoning is a cause of predominantly motor peripheral neuropathy; botulism food poisoning may cause weakness that progresses from head, neck, arms, hands, body and then legs.

  15. Hand pain?

    Why: a painful joint, muscle or bone disease may interfere with assessment of hand power.

  16. Hand paresthesia?

    Why: if there is also paresthesia in the involved extremity this may suggest herniated cervical disc , spinal cord tumor or cervical spondylosis. Other conditions to consider are brachial plexus neuropathy, thoracic outlet syndrome, cervical rib, Pancoast's tumor, Raynaud's disease, sympathetic dystrophy or various entrapment syndromes such as carpal tunnel syndrome and ulnar nerve entrapment at the elbow.

  17. Neck pain?

    Why: may indicate that the cause of hand weakness originates from disorders of the cervical spine.

  18. Are there any other areas of the body which are weak?

    Why: e.g. weakness of the muscles of the face would suggest a diagnosis of cerebrovascular disease, a mass in the brain or spinal cord.

  19. Headaches?

    Why: may suggest cerebrovascular disease or mass in brain.

  20. Symptoms of stroke?

    Why: e.g. difficulty with speaking, difficulty with swallowing, visual field defects, cranial nerve palsies, weakness of the leg on the same side, spasticity of affected limbs.

  21. Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome?

    Why: e.g. paresthesia or "pins and needles" affecting the pulps of the thumb, index , middle and half of the ring finger. These symptoms are usually noticed after, rather than during, rapid use of the hands. There may also be pain, which may radiate up as far as the shoulder, from the inside of the wrist. There may also be muscle wasting and weakness of the hands.

  22. Symptoms of Guillain-Barre syndrome?

    Why: e.g. weakness of distal limb muscles, distal numbness, if more severe may have respiratory and facial muscle weakness.

  23. Symptoms of botulism food poisoning?

    Why: e.g. symmetrical weakness and paralysis that usually descends from head, neck, arm, hands, body and then legs; nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dizziness, blurred vision, dry mouth, dry throat.

Conditions listing medical symptoms: Hand weakness:

The following list of conditions have 'Hand weakness' or similar listed as a symptom in our database. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.

Select from the following alphabetical view of conditions which include a symptom of Hand weakness or choose View All.

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