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What Are The Signs Of Movement Disorder?

Movement disorder is a neurological condition characterized by abnormal functioning of the muscles of the body due to impaired nerve supply.1 It develops due to dysfunctions in the brain, spinal cord, and nervous system. It affects both the voluntary and involuntary muscles of the body. Its causes are genetic abnormalities, toxins, metabolic disorders, infections, injury, and others. It causes difficulties in the movement of limbs, improper gait, swallowing difficulties, dysphonia, muscular spasms, and others. This disorder can affect the daily routine of a person, even making the day to day activity difficult. The patient needs the help of caretakers to cope up with this condition.

What Are The Signs Of Movement Disorder?

Movement disorders are marked by excessive voluntary movements, abnormal involuntary movements or reduced or absent movements. The muscle movements are sometimes associated with a rigid or spasmodic condition. The signs and symptoms become more severe and increased by certain factors such as anxiety, stress, medication, and fatigue.

The abnormal movements of the muscles may be jerky, rhythmic, irregular or constant. This often leads disabilities in life with difficulties in moving the muscles. The affected person is unable to perform his daily activities and there is little or no hope for them to get employed. On the other hand, the affected person may become so disabled that he may need a full-time caretaker to supervene his daily activities even personal hygiene.

The movement disorders may start slowly and may take years to show its impact. Many times, the affected person does not notice such movements. They are noticed by his colleagues or family members. The initial symptoms of this disorder are weakness and stiffness of the muscles.

The involuntary movements of the muscles include twitches, jerking or flapping of the arms and head with or without abnormal sounds such as grunt.

These symptoms may remain the whole day or may appear only during performing a voluntary task that requires muscle movement.

The signs and symptoms of movement disorders are dependent on the type and severity of the disorder.

Types Of Movement Disorders And Their Symptoms & Signs

Tremors– tremors may appear in the face especially chin, head, arms, and legs. It is seen commonly in essential tremor.2

Rigidity– increased muscle tone causes rigidity in the muscle. In Parkinson’s disease, cogwheel rigidity develops in the muscles leading to ratchet like feeling while the passive movement of the limb.

Pain And Spasm– increased muscle tone in movement disorders may lead to pain and spasm in the muscles, most commonly seen in dystonia.

Blepharospasm– it means contraction of eyelid muscles when one eye or both eyes are closed. It is seen in focal dystonia.3

Postural Misbalance– stooping while walking is one of the sign of movement disorder especially in Parkinson’s disease. Clumsiness, uncontrolled movements, difficulty in gait or walking is some of the symptoms of postural imbalances seen in ataxia.

Dysphonia– abnormality that causes a contraction in the muscles of the face can affect voice production.4 It is an important sign of dysphonia.

Asterixis– when a limb is attempted to move in some position, movement disorder can lead to sudden loss of muscle tone. It results in the flapping movement of the hands when the upper arm is moved.

Movement disorder refers to a group of neurological conditions that influences the movement of muscles in the body. It may affect voluntary or involuntary muscles of the body. The movement of muscles may become abnormally increased, excessive, and rapid. These movements may get slow or reduced affecting the normal activities of daily life. The affected person cannot perform simple activities on his own, he always needs assistance.


Movement disorder is a neurological condition that causes impaired, repeated, abnormal, and uncontrollable movement of the muscles. The signs of symptoms of this condition include tremors, uncontrollable movements of the limbs, twitching of eyes, clumsiness, muscle spasm and others discussed above.


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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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