Movement Disorder

Movement disorders affect an estimated 20% of the population. There are more than 30 neurological conditions that could be considered movement disorders, many of which appear later in life due to degenerative or genetic causes. The hallmark of a movement disorder is persistent involuntary movement or difficulty initiating movement in spite of adequate strength and range of motion.

The conditions include: spasticity; Parkinson’s disease; essential tremor; dystonia; Tourette syndrome; camptocormia; hemifacial spasm; and Meige syndrome.

Movement disorders impact function in everyday life and may be associated with other symptoms, including chronic pain. While the underlying cause often cannot be cured, symptoms are managed through a multidisciplinary approach with the help of skilled healthcare providers.

Treatment of movement disorders generally begins with oral medications, but if these are inadequate or produce unacceptable side effects, a number of neuromodulation approaches are available. For example, a neurostimulator device (similar to a heart pacemaker) can be implanted to deliver electrical stimulation to the brain, and this can improve symptoms of tremor, dystonia, or the stiffness and slowness seen in Parkinson’s disease. Alternatively, delivery of the anti-spasm agent baclofen into the spinal canal can improve spasticity.

Reviewed Oct. 4, 2016
Jonathan P. Miller, MD
Member, International Neuromodulation Society Public Education Committee, 2016
Director, Center for Functional and Restorative Neurosurgery
Associate Professor of Neurological Surgery
George R. and Constance P. Lincoln Endowed Chair
Department of Neurological Surgery, University Hospitals Case Medical Center, Cleveland, Ohio, USA