Every movement we make, from scratching our heads to blowing a kiss, is the result of a complex interaction between our central nervous system, nerves, and muscles.

If anyone of these becomes damaged or malfunctions it can result in one of the many types of movement disorder.

An estimated 40 million people in the US have a movement disorder.

Let’s take a look at some of the most common

Different Types of Movement Disorder

There are over 30 different recognized movement disorders, and they are split into two categories.

  • Hyperkinetic – This type of movement disorder is responsible for an increase in excessive, repetitive and involuntary movements that interrupt the normal motor activity
  • Hypokinetic – This type of movement disorder results in a partial or complete loss in muscle movement.

Hyperkinetic Movement Disorders


Ataxia results from trauma or degenerative changes in the cerebellum (the part of the brain that controls coordinated movement).

Ataxia causes poorly co-ordinated speech, limb and eye movements, and poor balance.


Chorea is a term used for any irregular and repetitive movements usually involving the face, mouth, trunk, and limbs.

When the symptoms are mild an individual might just appear fidgety and can learn to disguise Chorea in deliberate movements


Dystonia can either affect a single part of the body or its entirety.

It results in involuntary contractions of opposing muscle groups which can cause twisting and repetitive movements and irregular posture.

Huntington’s Disease

Huntington’s is a hereditary disease. It is progressive and degenerative and results in chorea, psychiatric conditions, and impaired cognition


Myoclonus refers to very quick involuntary movements from a single muscle or muscle group.

It is categorized as either positive myoclonus, which is the result of a sudden muscle contraction, or negative myoclonus, which is the sudden loss of a muscle contraction.

Restless Leg Syndrome

This incredibly common disorder refers to an unpleasant sensation in the legs often experienced at night.

It creates the need to move around, and this usually alleviates the symptoms. It can disrupt sleep patterns leading to insomnia and lethargy during the day.

Tardive Dyskinesia

Tardive Dyskinesia (TD) comes as the result of long-term use of neuroleptic drugs that block dopamine receptors.

It mainly affects the face and causes eye blinking, grimacing, and other movements often resembling the chewing of gum.

Tourette’s Syndrome/Tics

Tourette’s Syndrome is a diagnosis given after an individual has shown symptoms of both vocal and motor tics for more than 1 year.

Tics are involuntary movements that usually reappear in the same way -in the same muscles, in the same pattern.

Motor tics usually occur from the shoulders up, and like vocal tics they are likely to be exacerbated by stress.


There are a number of different kinds of tremors, ‘essential tremor’ being the most commonly reported movement disorder

Tremors cause involuntary shaking in parts of the body.

Hypokinetic Movement Disorders

Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s affects about one percent of people over the age of 60.

It is a progressive and degenerative disorder characterized by tremors, stiffness, imbalance, and slowly decreased movement.


Parkinsonism is an umbrella term for any condition that displays symptoms similar to Parkinson’s disease including

  • Tremors
  • Slowness of movement (Bradykinesia)
  • Stiffness
  • Flexed posture
  • Freezing
  • Loss of postural reflexes

Multiple System Atrophy (MSA)

MSA is one of these conditions. It is incredibly uncommon and affects a number of brain systems.

In addition to Parkinsonism symptoms, it can also cause impaired bladder function and low blood pressure

Progressive Supranuclear Palsy

This also falls under Parkinsonism’s conditions. It is a degenerative disease characterized by the inability to move the eyes up and down, and difficulty walking, making individuals more susceptible to falls early on in its development.

If you’re concerned about any of the conditions and would like to find out more then contact a nearby neurologist in Brooklyn.

Moving Forward

Huge advancements are being made regarding the treatment of movement disorders. From Gamma Knife radiosurgery to deep brain stimulation.

Please take a look at the rest of our site for more information on the different types of movement disorders and neurology.

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