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What Is The Most Common Movement Disorder?

Movement disorders refer to a group of neurological conditions that influences the movement of muscles in the body.1 They may affect voluntary or involuntary muscles of the body. The movement of muscles may become abnormally increased, excessive and rapid. The movements may get slow or reduced affecting the normal activities of daily life. The affected person cannot perform simple activities. The muscle movements are sometimes associated with a rigid or spasmodic condition of the muscles. The signs and symptoms become more severe and increased by certain factors such as anxiety, stress, medication, and fatigue. Essential tremor is the most common movement disorder.

What Is The Most Common Movement Disorder?

Essential tremor is a disorder of the brain characterized by uncontrollable and unintentional shaking of a part of the body. It commonly affects forearms and hands.2 It may also affect the head, face, tongue, neck or torso. In rare cases, it may involve legs and feet.

Essential tremors can develop at any age and it is more common in old people. It is not a disorder that can cause life-threatening consequences. It does not affect the general health of the patient. But, it may cause involuntary shaking that affects a person’s ability to perform day to day activities like eating, drinking, or writing in a smooth manner.

Causes Of Essential Tremor

The exact cause of essential tremor is not clearly understood. It is assumed that alcohol intake, overactive thyroid or a stroke can induce the shaking. However, there is no strong evidence for these reasons. There is no research study till now, that can connect gene or environmental factors or cellular defect to be the cause of this condition. According to recent studies done by the National Institute of neurological disorders and Stroke, essential tremors are initiated by certain changes in certain brain areas.

Risk Factors For Essential Tremor

Age– people of age above 40 years are more chances to develop essential tremors.

Sex– it equally affects both sexes.

Family history– family history of essential tremors can be a risk factor. It is 50% chances that children who have a family history can develop this disorder.

Symptoms Of Essential Tremor

Essential tremor is represented by shaking involuntary movements known as tremors.2 The tremors are small and rapid movements that may appear frequently, occasionally or constantly. It may or may not affect both sides of the body. When it can appear at the time of performing an activity i.e. performing a task, then, it is called action tremors.

When it appears at rest without any activity, it is known as essential tremor at rest.

Tremors may cause minor or severe impact on the abilities of a person to perform certain activities. In severe cases, it disturbs one’s ability to perform normal activities. The symptoms of essential tremors are-

  • Shaking of hands while attempting to use the hands
  • Up or down or side to side movement of the head and neck
  • Twitching of eyelids or face
  • The shaking of the tongue or voice box.

Movement disorder is a neurological disorder that may result in excessive movement of the muscles of the body unrelated to paralysis. It impairs the speed, fluency, quality, and smoothness of the movement. It may limit one’s ability to perform daily activities. Essential tremor is the most common type of movement disorder. It is represented by uncontrollable and unintentional shaking and jerking of the muscles. It may involve one or more parts of the body. Its causes are yet to be discovered. Its symptoms are involuntary shaking off hands while performing a task, up-down or side wise movement of the head, and many more.


Movement disorders are neurological disorders that cause involuntary and uncontrollable movement of the muscles. Essential tremor is the most common movement disorder. Its causes are not known. Its symptoms include involuntary shaking of hands, feet, twitching of eyelids and others discussed above.


Also Read:

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:July 23, 2019

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