Movement disorders are health issues that can cause abnormal and involuntary body movements. Many common movement disorders are frequently caused by problems in the transmission signals of the brain and they can ultimately affect quality, fluency, speed, and ease of movement. Movement disorders are also referred to as conversion disorders and/or psychogenic movement disorders. Damage, injuries or underlying conditions of the brain, spinal cord, and nervous system don’t necessarily cause movement disorders. We will discuss the most common movement disorders, including:
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- Tremor: also known as an essential tremor or a resting tremor.
- Ataxia: characterized by “jerky” movements and coordination problems.
- Dystonia: characterized by abnormal, involuntary, and prolonged muscle contractions.
- Huntington’s disease: also known as chronic progressive chorea.
- Parkinson’s disease: one of the most “well-known” movement disorders, associated with tremor.
- Multiple system atrophies: also known as Shy-Drager syndrome.
- Myoclonus: characterized by rapid, brief, and irregular movements.
- Tourette’s syndrome: another “well-known” movement disorder, associated with repetitive or unwanted sounds and movements.
- Wilson’s disease: also known as an inherited health issue, associated with common symptoms and liver disease.
- Progressive supranuclear palsy: also known as a rare health issue that affects movement.
Table of Contents
TremorTremor is a common movement disorder that is characterized by abnormal and/or involuntary shaking or “trembling”. It can generally affect single or multiple limbs and it can also frequently worsen with simple movements. Tremor affects approximately five million people in the United States. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, tremors most commonly develop in older adults, specifically in those over 65 years of age. It is commonly caused by problems in the regions of the brain that regulate and manage movement. Tremor is not associated with damage, injury, or an underlying condition.
AtaxiaAtaxia is a well-known movement disorder that affects the brain and/or spinal cord. Ataxia can cause common symptoms, such as instability, imbalance, clumsiness, tremor, and/or a lack of coordination. Normal movements associated with ataxia generally aren’t smooth and they may appear to be “jerky” or disjointed. People with ataxia may also fall down frequently due to an unsteady gait or walking cycle. Ataxia also can affect speech and eye movement.
DystoniaDystonia is a common movement disorder that is characterized by abnormal and/or involuntary muscle spasms. Dystonia is caused by basal ganglia dysfunction, a region of the brain that regulates and manages movement coordination to control the fluency and speed of movement and avoid unwanted movement. Dystonia can cause common symptoms, such as repetitive, abnormal and/or involuntary movements of any part of the body. General dystonia can ultimately affect the whole body while focal dystonias can ultimately affect a single area of the body, most commonly affecting the neck, known as spasmodic torticollis, eyelids, known as blepharospasm, lower face, known as Meige syndrome, or hand, known as writer’s cramp or limb dystonia.
Huntington’s DiseaseHuntington’s disease is another well-known movement disorder that gradually deteriorates the brain cells. It can also often be fatal. Huntington’s disease affects approximately one in every 10,000 people in the United States and generally develops between 35 and 50 years of age, progressing without remission through 10 to 25 years. A juvenile form of the movement disorder affects approximately 16 percent of all cases and generally develops in people less than 20 years of age. Huntington’s disease can cause common symptoms, such as jerky, abnormal and/or involuntary movements of the face, limbs, and trunk, gradual brain dysfunction as well as mental health issues. Moreover, Huntington’s disease is well-known as a hereditary movement disorder.
Parkinson’s DiseaseParkinson’s disease is another commonly well-known movement disorder caused by the deterioration of the brain cells in the area, known as the substantia nigra, that regulates and manages movement. The brain cells can become damaged and die, ultimately affecting their capability to create an essential substance known as dopamine. Parkinson’s disease can cause common symptoms, such as tremor, muscle stiffness, gradual loss of movement, gradual brain dysfunction, decreased facial expressions and/or voice changes, decreased blinking, swallowing frequency, and drooling, a stooped, flexed posture, unsteady gait or walking cycle, mental health issues, and/or dementia. According to the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation, approximately 60,000 new cases of Parkinson’s disease are diagnosed each year. Approximately four percent of people with Parkinson’s disease are diagnosed before 50 years of age.
Multiple System Atrophies (MSA)Multiple system atrophies (MSA) are gradual movement disorders that can affect blood pressure, movement, and other structures and functions. Because of the different ranges of symptoms, MSAs were initially characterized as three different health issues, including Shy-Drager syndrome, striatonigral degeneration, and olivopontocerebellar atrophy. All of these health issues are currently characterized as MSA. Common symptoms include stiffness, slowed movements, instability, loss of balance, loss of coordination, a considerable decrease in blood pressure associated with dizziness, lightheadedness, fainting or blurred vision, known as orthostatic hypotension, male impotence, urinary problems, constipation, as well as speech and swallowing difficulties.
MyoclonusMyoclonus is a common movement disorder characterized by abnormal or involuntary twitching or muscle spasms. There are several different forms of myoclonus. Cortical myoclonus develops in a region of the brain known as the sensorimotor cortex and it may be caused by a variety of health issues. Subcortical myoclonus affects various muscle groups and may be caused by unusually low levels of oxygen in the brain, known as hypoxia, or by a metabolic process, such as liver or kidney failure. Spinal myoclonus may be caused by damage, injury, or an underlying condition of the spine, such as multiple sclerosis, syringomyelia, ischemic myelopathy or an infection like herpes zoster, Lyme disease, E. coli or HIV. Peripheral myoclonus may be caused by the compression of a facial nerve or it may occur for no apparent reason. Furthermore, several other health issues associated with myoclonus can ultimately include celiac disease, Angelman syndrome, Huntington’s disease, Rett syndrome, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Tourette’s SyndromeTourette Syndrome is a hereditary movement disorder characterized by repetitive, abnormal, and/or involuntary movements and sounds known as tics. This health issue commonly develops between six and 15 years of age, however, it may develop as early as two years of age or as late as 20 years of age. Common symptoms include abnormal and/or involuntary movements of the face and body. Tics are generally frequent, repetitive, and quick. Verbal tics, known as vocalizations, generally occur with the movements and/or may replace single or multiple movement tics. Vocalizations can include grunting, throat clearing, and shouting, among others. Verbal tics may also include the abnormal and/or involuntary utilization of obscene, socially unacceptable words and phrases, known as coprolalia, as well as obscene gestures, known as copropraxia. Tics disappear in about 70 percent of cases.
Wilson’s DiseaseWilson’s Disease is a common movement disorder that causes excess copper to accumulate in the brain or liver. Although copper can accumulate since birth, common symptoms can develop between six and 40 years of age. Wilson’s Disease affects approximately one in 30,000 people in the world. Wilson’s disease is also associated with mental health issues as well as liver disease. Other common symptoms can include jaundice, abdominal pain and swelling, vomiting, tremor as well as walking, talking or swallowing difficulties, suicidal or homicidal behavior, depression, and aggression, among others.
Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP)Progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) is a rare but well-known movement disorder that causes gradual loss of certain brain cells, slowed movement, and balance, walking, swallowing, speech and eye movement difficulties. It may also affect cognition and personality, causing emotional outbursts and a decrease in intellectual capabilities. PSP commonly affects people between 40 to 60 years of age and it can generally run its full terminal course throughout six to 10 years. PSP is occasionally misdiagnosed as Parkinson’s disease because the symptoms are very similar. Although the cause of PSP is unknown, healthcare professionals understand that a protein, known as tau, can accumulate in unusual clumps in certain brain cells of people with PSP.
Common movement disorders are characterized as health issues that can cause common symptoms, such as abnormal and involuntary movements. Common movement disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease, tremor, ataxia, and dystonia, among others, are caused by problems in the transmitting signals of the brain and they can ultimately affect quality, fluency, speed, and ease of movement. Common movement disorders are also frequently referred to as conversion disorders and/or psychogenic movement disorders. In the following article, we discussed several of the most common movement disorders. Understanding common movement disorders and their common symptoms is fundamental for diagnosis and treatment. – Dr. Alex Jimenez D.C., C.C.S.T. InsightMovement disorders are health issues that can cause abnormal and involuntary body movements. Many common movement disorders are frequently caused by problems in the transmission signals of the brain and they can ultimately affect quality, fluency, speed, and ease of movement. Movement disorders are also referred to as conversion disorders and/or psychogenic movement disorders. Damage, injuries or underlying conditions of the brain, spinal cord, and nervous system don’t necessarily cause movement disorders. In the article above, we discussed the most common movement disorders.
The scope of our information is limited to chiropractic, musculoskeletal, and nervous health issues or functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions. We use functional health protocols to treat injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Our office has made a reasonable attempt to provide supportive citations and has identified the relevant research study or studies supporting our posts. We also make copies of supporting research studies available to the board and or the public upon request. To further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900.Curated by Dr. Alex Jimenez References:
- Stanford Health Care (SHC) – Stanford Medical Center. “Functional Movement Disorders.” Stanford Health Care (SHC) – Stanford Medical Center, stanfordhealthcare.org/medical-conditions/brain-and-nerves/functional-movement-disorders.html.
- Swierzewski, Stanley J. “Movement Disorders Overview.” Movement Disorders Overview – Movement Disorders – HealthCommunities.com, 1 Jan. 2000, www.healthcommunities.com/movement-disorders/overview-of-movement-disorders.shtml.
- AANS. “Movement Disorders.” AANS, www.aans.org/en/Patients/Neurosurgical-Conditions-and-Treatments/Movement-Disorders.
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Additional Topic Discussion: Chronic PainSudden pain is a natural response of the nervous system which helps to demonstrate possible injury. By way of instance, pain signals travel from an injured region through the nerves and spinal cord to the brain. Pain is generally less severe as the injury heals, however, chronic pain is different than the average type of pain. With chronic pain, the human body will continue sending pain signals to the brain, regardless if the injury has healed. Chronic pain can last for several weeks to even several years. Chronic pain can tremendously affect a patient’s mobility and it can reduce flexibility, strength, and endurance.
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