Vibration White Finger Diagnosis
Also known as hand-arm vibration syndrome, vibration white finger, is a syndrome that affects the nerves, blood vessels, joints, muscles and connective tissue of the arm, hand and wrist. It brings about changes in sensory perception that may lead to permanent numbness of the fingers.
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HAVS is mostly caused by repeated and regular use of hand-held vibrating equipment like chainsaws, power drills, hammer drills and pneumatic drills. The vibration upholds vasoconstriction through smooth muscle hypertrophy in the arteries and damage to endothelial cell walls. This brings about the release of vasoconstricting chemicals like thromboxane and serotonin that later numbs the nerves.
General practitioners may have slight knowledge about musculoskeletal disorder and will often refer one to a specialist such as a rheumatologist, if they deduce one has vibration white finger. Nevertheless, they carry out a medical assessment, including some tests to get much information on the symptoms. Some standard tests the doctor may use to diagnose the syndrome include:
- The Vibrotactile Threshold test – This test is used to gauge the sensitivity of the mechanoreceptors found in the nerves of every hand to stretch, vibration and texture. During the test, measurements are taken from every hand, in the index finger (median nerve) and the little finger (ulnar nerve).
- The Purdue Pegboard test – This test is used to measure dexterity and any kind of movement loss in each hand.
- The Thermal Aesthesiometry test – This kind of test is normally used to measure thermal receptors (for heat/cold). All readings are taken from every hand too.
- The Grip Force measurement test – This is used to measure grip in both hands.
- The Stockholm Workshop Scale: VWF can also be measured on a Stockholm Workshop Scale. This type of scale identifies that the syndrome, just like the Raynaud’s disease may encompass a vascular component and a sensory component. As such, it provides a separate score to this phase.
A medicine referred to as nifedipine is mostly prescribed if raynaud’s phenomenon symptoms become severe. This medicine works by dilating the small blood vessels. Other types of medicines are also prescribed if nifedipine does not work as desired. However, the most advisable thing to do is to have the doctor refer one to a specialist who may know how to deal with the condition extremely.
- Ceasing or reducing exposure to all vibrating tools.
- Encouragement to stop smoking
- Avoiding tight clothing, which may restrict blood flow
- Taking regular exercises to improve circulation
- Keeping warm so as to stop spasms in the fingers’ arteries
- Keeping away from cold objects and using anti-vibration gloves
The VWF also has its general symptoms, despite tests performed by doctors. The very first sign is an occasional attack and whitening of the fingers. Others include numbness and tingling in the fingers and frequent painful attacks. Nevertheless, if symptoms persist, it is always good to visit a specialist to have the tests done and proper medication administered.