What is a movement disorder?

Movement disorder is defined as an abnormality in the form and velocity of movements of the body. These disorders are a group of nervous system (neurological) conditions that cause either increased movements or reduced or slow movements which may be voluntary or involuntary.

What are the common types of movement disorders?

Movement disorder Affected body part Characteristics
Ataxia Brain Uncoordinated balance, speech, or limb movements. Degenerative disorders, infection, etc., may be the causes.
Dystonia The entire body or any part Sustained involuntary muscle contractions
Chorea Face, mouth, trunk, and limbs Repetitive, brief, irregular, rapid, involuntary movements
Cervical Dystonia Neck Sustained involuntary muscle contractions cause the head to pull to one side or to shake back and forth.
Functional movement disorder Any movement disorder Due to neurological disease and is treatable
Huntington’s disease Genetic disorder Uncontrolled movements, cognitive problems, and psychiatric conditions.
Parkinson’s disease Muscle A slowly progressive disease characterized by tremors, muscle stiffness, slow movement, imbalance, constipation, and the decline in cognition.
Parkinsonism Muscle Slow movement and stiffness due to Parkinson’s disease or dopamine-blocking medications, multiple system atrophy, stroke, or repeated traumatic brain injury
Multiple system atrophy Brain systems, low B.P., impaired bladder function An uncommon neurological disorder that causes ataxia or parkinsonism
Myoclonus Muscle Lightning quick jerks
Progressive supranuclear palsy Eye A rare neurological disorder that affects walking, balance, and eye movements.
Restless legs syndrome Legs Unpleasant sensation in legs while relaxing or lying down which is relieved during movement
Tardive dyskinesia Eye Due to the long-term use of neuroleptic drugs for psychiatric illnesses. Repetitive, involuntary movements such as eye blinking are characteristics.
Tourette syndrome Repetitive movements and vocal sounds are generally seen in individuals of age groups between childhood and teens
Tremor Hands, head or other body parts Rhythmic shaking of body parts.
Wilson’s disease Genetic disorder Excess amounts of copper build up in the body, causing various kinds of neurological problems such as dystonia, tremor, parkinsonism, or ataxia.
Lewy body dementia brain Depletion of neurotransmitters such as dopamine (controls muscle movement) and acetylcholine (responsible for memory, thinking, and processing). The patient suffers from fluctuating alertness, visual hallucinations, and Parkinsons-like movement issues.
Blepharospasm Eyelid Uncontrollable spasms of both eyelids
Hemifacial spasm Eyelid and lower face Involuntary spasms of the eyelid and lower face on one side.

What are the available treatments for these movement disorders?

Movement disorder Treatment
Ataxia of Parkinsonism Use of oral L-Dopa. Other medications include Amantadine, selegiline, and entacapone.
Dystonia Three-tiered approach – Botulinum toxin, medications, and surgery
Essential tremor Beta-blockers in young patients, anti-seizure medications, benzodiazepines. In case of severe tremors, thalamotomy and deep brain stimulation are the surgical options.
Huntington’s disease The treatment focus is on reducing symptoms and preventing complications with the help of antidepressants, tranquilizers, mood-stabilizers, and Botox injections.
Multiple system atrophy L-Dopa and Dopamine agonists
Myoclonus Barbiturates, phenytoin, primidone, sodium valproate, clonazepam
Parkinson’s disease Dopamine agonists, anticholinergics, thalamotomy, deep brain stimulation
Tardive dyskinesia Antipsychotics
Wilson’s disease Removing excess copper with the help of zinc acetate, trientine, and penicillamine. Lifelong treatment with refrainment of copper-rich foods such as organ meats, shellfish, fish, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and chocolate.


Since movement disorders are due to neurological disruption that involves motor dysfunction or motor abnormalities or neuro-muscular coordination problems. Many of these disorders take time (sometimes lifelong) to get cured or are sometimes difficult to cure as in genetic movement disorders.

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