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What Are Neurological Movement Disorders?

What Are Neurological Movement Disorders?

There are so many diseases classified under neurological movement disorders. We will be discussing briefly about the most common diseases.

Essential Tremor. Essential tremor is an uncontrolled tremor or trembling of the hands or arms that usually worsens when a movement is attempted.1 This usually affects one hand or arm, but can occur in both as well. Essential tremor is seen in about five million people in the United States and it’s more common in adults more than 65 age. It’s the commonest neurological movement disorder. Most of the patients (50%) has a family history of essential tremor and it cannot be categorized into other movement disorders such as Parkinson’s disease. It’s caused by abnormalities in the area which controls movement. This is not a very serious movement disorder; however, it can affect the quality of life to some extent. Physical therapy, lifestyle changes can improve the condition. If it is very severe medical and surgical treatment can be considered.

Parkinson’s Disease. It is a progressive neurological disease due to the degeneration of the substantia niagra (part in the brain that controls movement) which causes a reduction in the production of the dopamine.2 The main symptoms are tremors, rigidity, slowness in the movement (dyskinesia) and imbalance. Other than that, a decline in mental capacity, voice changes, decreased facial expressions, difficulty in swallowing, drooling of saliva and difficulty in walking will occur with time. There are about 7-10 million people with Parkinson’s in the world and it’s the second commonest neurological movement disorder. There is no cure but symptoms can be treated with administration of dopamine.

Dystonia. Dystonia is a neurological muscle disorder that occurs due to the abnormal function of the basal ganglia (the part that controls coordination of the movements).3 It affects about 250,000 people in the United States. Dystonia causes muscle spasms, involuntary repetitive movements, abnormal postures, and positions. it can affect the legs, arms, eyelids, vocal cords or even the whole body. There different types of dystonia classified according to the part of the body the muscle spasms and involuntary movements occur. Dystonia can affect the normal day to day life of a person heavily. There are few medical treatments available to reduce the abnormal movements if it does not work surgery is the next option.

Ataxia. Ataxia affects the brain, brainstem and the spinal cord, it’s a degenerative neurological disease. This can cause difficulty in moving the eyes, slurred speech, tremors, unsteadiness, clumsiness, difficulty in balancing and difficulty in doing voluntary movements. The movements are jerky. Due to the unsteadiness and imbalance patients can fall easily.

There are different types of ataxia and the age of onset can range from children to adults.

  • Ataxia Telangiectasia
  • Multiple System Atrophy
  • Friedreich’s Ataxia
  • Spinocerebellar Ataxia
  • Episodic Ataxia
  • Sporadic Ataxia

The treatment varies according to the type of ataxia and the symptoms of the individual. Medications, physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy are the usual treatment options. Ataxia can cause serious complications which can affect the quality of life, debilitating and life-threatening.

Huntington’s Disease. Huntington’s disease is a fatal disease caused by the degeneration of the nerve cells in the brain, it’s a progressive and a degenerative disease. Huntington’s diseases affect one in every 10,000 people In the United States. It usually affects people in their 35-50 age. Jerky involuntary movements in the upper limbs, lower limbs, trunk and face; decline in mental status, and psychiatric diseases are seen. It’s a hereditary condition and if one parent is affected there is a 50% chance it occurring in a child. Unfortunately, there is no treatment for Huntington’s disease, only symptomatic management to reduce the symptoms so, that the patient can have a more comfortable life. Usually, these patients die in about 10-30 years after the initiation of the disease.

Other Neurological Movement Disorders


There are so many diseases classified under neurological movement disorders such as. Parkinson’s disease, essential tremor, dystonia, ataxia, Huntington’s disease, multiple system atrophy, myoclonus, Rett syndrome, spasticity, tardive dyskinesia, progressive supranuclear pals, Tourette syndrome, and Wilson’s disease.


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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:July 19, 2019

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