Types of Movement Disorders

Movement disorders are neurological conditions that affect a person’s ability to control the way his or her body moves. Symptoms vary widely from person to person and from day to day. Patients must learn to cope with physical symptoms, as well as emotional issues, social stigmas and other concerns.

In general, movement disorders are caused by changes to regions of the brain that control movement. The cause of these changes is often unknown. The two basic categories of movement disorders are:

  • Hypokinetic disorders (too little movement/slowness of movement)
  • Hyperkinetic disorders (too much movement/excess, unwanted movement)

Experts with the Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Program are experienced in treating many movement disorders from the complex to the most common, including conditions such as these.

Parkinson’s Disease and Related Syndromes (Parkinsonism)

Parkinson’s disease (PD) and related conditions affect the coordination of muscles and movement. The conditions are chronic and progressive, often causing tremor, stiffness, slow movement and problems with balance/posture. Related conditions include:

  • Progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP)
  • Multiple system atrophy (MSA)
  • Corticobasal degeneration (CBD)
  • Diffuse Lewy body disease (DLBD)
  • Vascular parkinsonism

Essential Tremor, Familial Tremor and Other Tremors

Types of tremor include:

  • Essential tremor
  • Familial tremor
  • Physiologic tremor
  • Primary orthostatic tremor
  • Task and position-specific tremor

Dystonias

Involuntary movements and long-lasting muscle contractions are telltale signs of disorders known as dystonias. Patients are often challenged by twisting, repetitive movements and abnormal postures. Dystonias include:

  • Adult-onset dystonia
  • Dopa-responsive dystonia (DRD)/Segawa’s dystonia
  • Myoclonus
  • Paroxysmal kinesigenic dyskinesia (PKD) and Paroxysmal Nonkinesigenic dyskinesia (PNKD)
  • Focal dystonias
    • Blepharospasm — affecting the eyelids
    • Cervical dystonia (spasmodic torticollis) — affecting the neck and sometimes shoulders
    • Oromandibular dystonia — affecting the face, jaw, pharynx and tongue
    • Spasmodic dysphonia/laryngeal dystonia/vocal dystonia — affecting the larynx (voice box)
    • Writer’s cramp and other task-specific dystonias — occur as a result of performing specific tasks

Ataxia/Gait-Balance Disorders

When parts of the nervous system that control movement are injured or damaged, patients can experience impaired balance and a loss of muscle control in their arms and legs.

Movements can become jerky and walking difficult. This set of symptoms is referred to as ataxia or gait-balance disorders and include:

Other Movement Disorders

The Parkinson’s and Movement Disorders Program physicians and staff offer comprehensive care for all other movement disorders, as well, including:

  • Hemifacial spasm/blepharospasm
  • Huntington’s disease and other choreas
  • Myoclonus
  • Paroxysmal kinesigenic dyskinesia (PKD) and paroxysmal nonkinesigenic dyskinesia (PNKD)
  • Periodic limb movement disorder
  • Psychogenic movement disorders
  • Restless leg syndrome (RLS)
  • Spasticity
  • Tourette’s syndrome/Tics
  • Wilson’s disease