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What is the Difference Between Akinesia and Dyskinesia?

Akinesia and Dyskinesia are two different word terminologies which are used in parkinson’s disease. In Akinesia, the individual loses the capability to move their muscles of the body voluntarily. In Dyskinesia, twitching happens or the muscles of the body moves involuntarily.1

Akinesia is a medical disorder which is characterized by impaired muscle movement.2 The word originates from the Greek word ‘kinesis’ which means movement of the body. The prefix ‘A’ stands for absence. This disorder can either affect a particular part of the body or the entire body. In neurology, akinesia is termed as a motor disease.

What is the Difference Between Akinesia and Dyskinesia?

There are numerous reasons why one can suffer from akinesia. Primarily, it is caused because of problems in the nervous system. The frontal lobe which controls the movement of the body is associated with this disorder. Some other causes include:

Medical Conditions: One of the medical conditions which cause akinesia is Parkinson disease.3 However, it is not clear how this disease affects the nervous system of the body.

Injury of Trauma to The Brain: If someone suffers any injury or mental trauma which affects the basal ganglia of the brain will cause akinesia.

Side Effects: Side effects of medicines can affect the normal functioning of the body. Antipsychotics or medicines given to patients from suffering schizophrenia and paranoia have symptoms similar to Parkinson disease causing akinesia. After the antipsychotic medicines are given, you will find some abnormalities in the body movement.

Using Of Street Drugs: Street drugs of illicit nature like synthetic heroin causes Parkinson symptoms which leads to akinesia.

Shy Dragger Syndrome: This deteriorates the patient’s body. The patient suffering from Parkinson can worsen its condition.

Blood Vessel Syndrome: Medical conditions like atherosclerosis and stroke involving blood vessels causes akinesia.

Akinesia Symptoms

  • Rarely blinking of eyelids
  • Monotonous speech without modulation
  • Failure of showing expressions and fixed face
  • Decreased spontaneous movements and reflexes
  • Apathy
  • Decreased motor functions
  • Complete immobility
  • Easily getting tired


  • Medications
  • Implantable stimulators

Understanding Dyskinesia

This disorder is an abnormal, involuntary and uncontrolled movement. It usually affects only one body part like the head, an arm or a leg or it can spread all over the body. It doesn’t happen to all the patients suffering from Parkinson. It occurs in different people depending on the severity of the disease. For some people, dyskinesia can be painful while for some it isn’t that bothersome. It interferes with social life, exercising and sometimes in daily activities. Dyskinesia often occurs along with other Parkinson symptoms like slowness, stiffness and tremor. Excitement and tress can exaggerate dyskinesia.

Causes of Dyskinesia

Dyskinesia usually occurs due to long-term use of levodopa.4 Some additional factors causing this disorder include consumption of higher doses of levodopa at a younger age. However, the exact cause of dyskinesia is not understood. Different brain chemicals including glutamate, dopamine and serotonin typically cause this disorder. Fluctuating dopamine particularly play an important role. In Parkinson’s disease, brain cells which make dopamine are lost leading to decrease in dopamine levels. Levodopa restores dopamine temporarily but since it has to be taken multiple times a day, levels of dopamine fall and rise. These fluctuations are major contributors of dyskinesia.


Symptoms of dyskinesia vary from person to person. Some of the symptoms are:

  • Restlessness
  • Twitching
  • Bobbing of the head
  • Swaying of the body
  • Wriggling
  • Fidgeting


Consult with your physician for managing dyskinesia. Some of the management ways are:

Dosage Changes: Change your levodopa dosage, how much should it be taken to control the symptoms must be measured.

Extended Release: Switch to an extended release formulation that aims at keeping the level of medication to keep the dopamine level consistent.

Amantadine: Use the medicine ‘amantadine’ which targets dyskinesia.

DBS: Another option is undergoing a surgical procedure called deep brain stimulation. However, this option is not available for those suffering from Parkinson for more than four years.


Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:January 12, 2024

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