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December 15, 1978

A Maneuver To Reverse Raynaud's Phenomenon of the Fingers

Author Affiliations

Dr McIntyre is in private practice in Rutland, Vt.

JAMA. 1978;240(25):2760. doi:10.1001/jama.1978.03290250064035

MORE than just a medical curiosity, Raynaud's phenomenon causes discomfort, vexation, and, sometimes, disability. Measures currently used to treat Raynaud's phenomenon include vasodilating drugs, sympathectomy, and avoidance of local and general body cooling.

In 30% to 40% of affected persons, there are detectable underlying causes, eg, connective tissue disease; chronic occlusive arterial diseases; thoracic outlet syndromes; intoxication with ergot, lead, or arsenic; occupational trauma; cold agglutinins; cryoglobulins; peripheral nervous system diseases; and late results of cold injury. Naturally, seeking underlying causes is an integral part of treating patients with the condition.

The success of Vermont skiers in warming their cold hands by whirling their arms beckoned a similar approach toward Raynaud's phenomenon. Here is the maneuver that evolved: While standing, the patient swings the affected extremity briskly at approximately 80 rpm in the direction that a softball pitcher would move the arm, ie, downward behind the body, upward in front