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These are a collection of syndromes or disorders that cause movement disorders. This could be an increased or decreased amount of movement. Or, simply the presence of abnormal movements.

Movement disorders are generally neurologic conditions that cause jerking, spasms, or shaking. Such problems involve increased movement that can be involuntary (unintended) voluntary (intentional). Movement disorders can also result in slow or decreased voluntary movement.
These are a collection of syndromes or disorders that collectively called movement disorders. This could be an increased or decreased amount of movement. Or, simply the presence of abnormal movements.
There is a subset of movement disorders that are not responsive to medical treatment. This subset is potentially responsive to surgical therapy like deep brain stimulation. At Neuroaxis, Mr. Nair is one of the few surgeons in Victoria trained to perform deep brain stimulation surgeries.

Causes of Movement Disorders

Causes of movement disorders include some of the following factors:
  • Hereditary
  • Metabolic disorders
  • Infections
  • Some medicines
  • Damage to the spinal cord, brain, or peripheral nerves
  • Stroke
  • Vascular diseases
  • Toxins

Symptoms of Movement Disorders

  • Bradykinesia (low movement)
  • Rigidity or stiffness of limbs and trunk, also known as spasticity
  • Akinesia or inability to move
  • Speaking and swallowing difficulties
  • Behavioural and cognitive issues
  • Contraction or tightening of the muscles, also known as dystonia
  • Psychiatric symptoms accompanying the progression of severe disorders

What are the early warning signs of movement disorders?

In Parkinson’s disease, one of the first symptoms can be a loss or reduced sense of smell. This symptom can occur for around a decade before it intensifies. Sleep disorder is another initial and important symptom. Gradually the rest of the symptoms appear. Some other progressive symptoms include focal dystonia. This mostly begins with neck, arms, or face muscle contractions. Blood tests are being assessed and seem to be promising diagnostics to diagnose early biomarkers of the disease.

What are the types of movement disorders?

The various types of movement disorders are mentioned as follows:


This condition is characterized by repetitive, brief, irregular, somewhat rapid, involuntary movements. These movements typically involve the face, mouth, torso, and limbs.

Cervical dystonia

This condition causes long-lasting contractions or intermittent contractions of the neck muscles. This causes the neck to turn in different ways.


This type of movement disorder affects the cerebellum. The cerebellum is the part of the brain that controls coordinated movement. Ataxia may cause uncoordinated or clumsy balance, speech, or limb movements, among other symptoms.


Dystonia involves sustained involuntary muscle contractions with twisting, repetitive movements. This condition may affect the entire body (generalized dystonia) or one part of the body (focal dystonia).

Huntington’s disease

Huntington’s disease is an inherited progressive, neurodegenerative disorder. It causes uncontrolled movements, impaired cognitive abilities, and psychiatric conditions.

Functional movement disorder

This condition isn’t due to neurological reasons, but it can resemble any of the movement disorders.

Multiple system atrophy

Multiple system atrophy is a progressive and uncommon neurological disorder that affects multiple brain systems. It causes movement disorders, such as Parkinsonism or Ataxia. Multiple system atrophy can also cause impaired bladder function and low blood pressure.

Progressive supranuclear palsy

This is a rare neurological disorder that causes problems with balance, walking, and eye movements. It can resemble Parkinson’s but is a distant condition.


This movement disorder causes involuntary rhythmic shaking of parts of the body, including hands, head, or other parts.

Parkinson’s disease

This is a slow progressive, neurodegenerative disorder. It causes tremor, stiffness, decreased movement (bradykinesia), or imbalance. It may also cause other non-movement symptoms.


This condition causes lightning-quick jerks of a muscle or a group of muscles.


Parkinsonism describes a group of conditions with symptoms that are similar to those of Parkinson’s disease.

Restless legs syndrome

This movement disorder causes unpleasant, abnormal feelings in the legs while relaxing or lying down. Restless legs syndrome can often be relieved with movement.

Tardive dyskinesia

This neurological condition is caused by the long-term use of neuroleptic drugs to treat psychiatric conditions. Tardive dyskinesia causes repetitive and involuntary movements, such as grimacing, blinking, and other movements.

Tourette syndrome

Tourette syndrome starts between childhood and teenage years. It is characterized by repetitive movements (motor tics) and vocal sounds (vocal tics).

Wilson’s disease

This is a rare, inherited disorder that causes excessive amounts of copper to build up in the body, causing neurological problems.

What is the treatment of Movement Disorders?

Treatment for movement disorders is divided into two categories, as mentioned below:
  • Treatment of the symptoms or symptom relief
  • Treatment of the primary or underlying cause
Doctors may advise some of the following to include during the treatment:
  • Occupational or physical treatment to help re-establish or keep up the capability to control the movements
  • Medications
  • Botulinum toxin injections for muscle stiffness.
  • Deep brain stimulation (DBS). This a surgical treatment alternative that uses an implant to stimulate the areas of the patient’s brain that controls the body movement.
All of these movement disorders are different. As such, it is important to consult the doctor for a personalised treatment plan based on the individual’s requirements.