Symptoms and Causes Of Most Common Types of Movement Disorders

Movement although seems to be an easy task, is a complex process that involves brain, nerves of spinal cord and muscles. Movement disorders are neurological conditions affecting a person’s movement. The disorder can affect voluntary as well as involuntary movement. In these disorders either the movement is increased abnormally or there is paucity of movement. These disorders affect quality, speed, smoothness, and ease of movement. Abnormal movement does not have any relation with muscle weakness or spasticity.

Majority of movement disorders does not pose immediate risk to life. But it can have profound effect on a person’s quality of life and his health.

Causes of Movement Disorders:

Most of the movement disorders develop because of some pathological changes in the brain, especially in the area of brain called basal ganglia. This part of brain is made up of grey matter and it lies deep inside the cerebrum of brain. The basal area of brain is made up of neurons that deal with involuntary movement.

The lesion may lie also in the cerebellum which is situated at the base of brain and it deals with maintaining proper posture and balance of the body. Many cases of motility disorders are genetically related. Other causes of movement disorders include:

  • Stress and anxiety
  • Elderly age
  • Medicines especially antipsychotic drugs and drugs that are used to treat vomiting like metoclopramide.
  • Chronic alcoholism and nicotine
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Stroke
  • Too much of copper in body.
  • Iron deficiency

Most common types of movement disorders:

There are numerous types of movement disorders, however, most common types are as follows:

  • Tremors: It is the commonest of all movement disorders. Tremor can affect any part of body, but mostly it occurs in hands, legs and head. Tremor is shaking of hands and fingers during a task performance. Physiological tremor occurs when a person is nervous and anxious. Tremor of fingers can also occur in hyperthyroidism. Essential tremor normally affects hands and legs.
  • Parkinson’s disease: This disorder was first described in 1817 by James Parkinson. At least 1 percent of people over the age of 60 are affected with this condition. It can also begin at the age of 40 and 50. The three important clinical finding of Parkinson disease are; bradykinesia (Slow movement), rigidity, and tremor during rest. Patient walks slow and shuffled. The arm swing is reduced. Posture is instable. Eventually over a period of time, patient is unable to do his daily activities and has to depend completely on the care giver. It is completely debilitating disease.
  • Ataxia: This condition is caused when the cerebellum is affected. This part of brain control and maintains proper coordination of movement. Ataxia can lead to slow and clumsy movement of hands and feet, imbalance, slow speech etc.
  • Dystonia: It is characterized by constant spasm and contraction of one or two group of muscles. Dystonia can be focal or generalized. Writer’s cramp is an example of focal dystonia. It is triggered when the muscles are over stressed and it also develops due to stress and anxiety.
  • Tics: These are repetitive and stereotype fast and coordinated movement. It can involve any part of body, but mainly upper body parts such as the eyes, head and neck are affected.
  • Dysphonia: It develops as a result of abnormal movement of muscles that deal with production of voice. The voice of these patients becomes jerky and strained.
  • Wilson’s disease: It is a rare genetically inherited disorder in which there is excess build p of copper in the body and brain. This results in several neurological symptoms.