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What Is Hyperkinetic Muscle Activity?

What Is Hyperkinetic Muscle Activity?

Hyperkinetic muscle activity or hyperkinetic movements are those movements that are in excess or are unwanted movements.1 Such movements are often seen in children suffering from neurological disorders. These movements are considered as important clinical or diagnostic findings that are significant in determining the diagnosis of the disorder and also the course of treatment. Hyperkinetic muscle activity or hyperkinetic movement disorders (HMDs) exhibit typically excessive abnormal movements that are involuntary.

The hyperkinesia are recognized or known by the phenomenology or by the electrophysiological resources.

Let us have a brief look at each of the most common types of Hyperkinetic muscle activity–


  • This is a movement disorder which exhibits a continuous, slow, writhing movement that is involuntary and makes one unable to maintain a stable posture.2
  • This disorder involves smooth movements that are continuous and are random and with not recognizable movement fragments
  • The word athetosis comes from a Greek word which means unable to maintain a stable posture


  • Chorea is a term used to describe random, one or more movements that are involuntary and ongoing.3
  • The movements are random because there is a variation in duration, timing, direction and/or anatomic location
  • The movements are ongoing, continuous and quite random and unpredictable


  • Dystonia is a name for a movement disorder which exhibits intermittent or sustained muscle contraction, which are involuntary, twisting, abnormal postures and repetitive in nature
  • The abnormal postures replace the voluntary movements or superimpose upon them
  • Dystonia produces repeated postures
  • Specific patterns or postures are typically seen in each child at one point of time
  • There can also be multiple or many dystonic patterns in the same child


  • Myoclonus is a term used for sequential, repeated sudden involuntary contractions
  • These contractions are mostly non-rhythmic and fleeting shock-like jerks
  • In myoclonus, several muscles may contract simultaneously (synchronous), they may contract in a predictable sequence (spreading) or they may contract in unpredictable and varying timing
  • If more than one muscle is affected in a random and varying pattern, this myoclonus is called as multifocal myoclonus
  • If many muscles are affected simultaneously, it is known as generalized myoclonus

Restless legs syndrome (RLS)

  • It is a condition that creates an uncontrollable desire in you to move your legs
  • This generally happens because of an uneasy feeling in the legs
  • This usually happens at night or evening, when one is lying down or sitting
  • Moving the legs may ease the uncomfortable sensation for the time being


  • Tremor refers to an oscillating r a back and forth involuntary movement of muscles which is rhythmic and is present about a joint axis
  • There is a symmetric oscillation in both directions if seen at a mid-point of the movement
  • Tremor may be due to alternating and rhythmic contraction between agonist and antagonist muscles
  • Tremor is classified in different types like rest tremor, action tremor, postural tremor etc, according to the severity


  • Tics are termed as intermittent movements or fragments of the movements that are repetitive, recognizable and are at most times fleetingly suppressible
  • These movements are often connected with a desire to perform the movement
  • The typical features seen in tics are obviousness of the nature of the movement and also the onset of movement, susceptibility to demonstration, stress or suggestion and a fleeting suppressibility
  • Tics are classified as simple motor tics, complex motor tics or phonic tics.


  • These are those movements that are simple, but repetitive
  • These can be suppressed voluntarily
  • These movements usually involve fingers, wrists and other parts of the upper extremities
  • The lower limbs are generally not involved
  • Stereotypies generally do not interfere with one’s task-performing abilities.

Hyperkinetic muscle activity or hyperkinesia or hyperkinetic movement disorders (HMDs) are those movements that are unwanted and in excess. These are usually seen in children affected by neurological disorders. There are many different types of this condition and proper diagnosis is essential to begin an efficient treatment.


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:August 13, 2019

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