The full extent of the movement disorder may not be completely understood immediately, but it may be revealed with a comprehensive medical evaluation and diagnostic testing at the Baylor Scott & White Plummer Movement Disorders Center.
Movement disorder diagnosis depends on a number of tools, including:
- Patient's complete health history
- Thorough neurological exam by a specialist
- Complete family history
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- DAT scans (measure dopamine uptake in the brain)
What is a movement disorder?
A movement disorder occurs when neurological conditions affect speed, fluency, quality and ease of movement.
If you have abnormal fluency or speed of movement, it may also involve other conditions. Movement disorders include excessive or involuntary movement (hyperkinesia) or slow or absent voluntary movement (hypokinesia).
The symptoms of a movement disorder largely depend on the type of condition you may have. People may have varying degrees of symptoms associated with the severity of the movement disorder and depending on the type of neurological issue.
The symptoms of a movement disorder may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Always consult a physician for a diagnosis.
Symptoms that may suggest a movement disorder
- Uncontrollable movements
- Inability to move or moving too slowly
- Tremors or shaking
- Jerks or twitches
- Spasms or contractures
- Gait problems or trouble walking
An impaired ability to coordinate movement often characterized by a staggering gait and postural imbalance is known as ataxia. These can be acquired or inherited.
An uncontrolled contraction of the eyelids that may be temporary twitching or closing of the eyelid.
Dystonia symptoms include strong, involuntary muscle contractions causing co-contraction of muscles that cause turning, twisting or curling. Examples include cervical dystonia (torticollis) or writer’s cramp.
Essential tremor (ET) is a nervous system disorder that causes involuntary and rhythmic shaking, known as tremors. Tremors impact different parts and different sides of the body including hands, head, voice, legs and trunk.
Irregular, involuntary muscle spasms on one side of the face.
Hereditary disorder that affects muscle coordination and leads to mental decline and behavioral symptoms. This is usually associated with chorea, which includes brief, unpredictable movements that interfere with speech, swallowing, posture and gait.
Occurs from degeneration of nerve cells in the brain causing problems with movement, balance and other autonomic functions of the body such as bladder control or blood-pressure regulation. This usually is confused with Parkinson’s disease or cerebellar ataxia.
Parkinson's disease is a progressive brain disease characterized by the loss of dopamine cells. More than 1.5 million Americans are diagnosed with this condition.
Painful or uncomfortable sensation, jerking or movement preceded by the urge to move the legs and relieved by movement. This typically, but not always, occurs at night or on long car rides.
This is an excessive flow of saliva that may be associated with various conditions.
Tightness, stiffness or spasms of muscles usually from strokes or spinal cord injuries.
Tic disorders include abrupt, repetitive involuntary movements and sounds that can be influenced by emotions, such as Tourette syndrome.
Treatment options for movement disorders
Baylor Scott & White Health offers a number of treatment options to provide relief from movement disorders.
Medication can help control symptoms and manage depression or anxiety that may accompany your disorder.
Botox injections can help relieve muscle contractions and spasms.
Physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy may also aid in your treatment.
Depending on the extent of your symptoms, your doctor may suggest surgery.
Studies have shown that lifestyle changes—including exercise, diet or stress management—can improve movement disorder symptoms.
Deep brain stimulation (DBS)
Deep brain stimulation is a surgical procedure used to treat certain neurologic conditions. In this type of treatment, an electrode is implanted surgically into the deep brain structures that influence movement. The conditions most commonly treated with DBS are Parkinson’s disease, dystonia and tremor.
Appointments and referrals
To schedule a consultation with our movement disorders specialist in the Baylor Scott & White Plummer Movement Disorders Center, see your primary care physician or neurologist for a referral. The physician referral number is 800.792.3368 or 254.724.2218.
If you have previously been seen in our Baylor Scott & White Plummer Movement Disorders Center, call 254.724.4179 (Temple) or 512.509.0200 (Round Rock) to schedule a movement disorders appointment.