Parkinson's disease is a well-known and highly publicized
movement disorder, but the list of neurologic movement disorders
includes everything from tremor to Tourette syndrome to
neuro-degenerative disorders such as Shy-Drager syndrome.
It is important to note that with many neurological movement
disorders, no single lab test confirms a diagnosis and many
symptoms mimic those of other illnesses. A diagnosis is made by a
physician through an extensive review of an individual's symptoms
and medical history, along with thorough physical and
neurological exams. Tests such as computed tomography (CT) and
magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans and an
electroencephalographic (EEG) test may also be used to help
physicians accurately diagnose a disorder.
What is dystonia? Dystonia is a neurological
movement disorder where the body becomes fixed in abnormal
postures or positions as a result of sustained involuntary muscle
contractions. Affecting parts of the body such as the arms, legs,
trunk, neck, eyelids, face or vocal cords, dystonia is not fatal
but the sustained muscle contractions can alter an individual's
ability to maintain normal functions, according to the Dystonia
Medical Research Foundation.
Although there are many different causes of the disorder, the
origin of an individual's dystonia can be categorized in two
separate groups: primary dystonia or secondary dystonia. Primary
dystonia is believed to be the result of a problem rooted in the
basal ganglia, the deep brain structures that control movement.
However, the direct cause of the abnormal function is unknown.
Trauma to the brain, toxins, birth injury, stroke or other
underlying disorders can cause secondary dystonia, which usually
can be identified by the presence of lesions in the area of the
brain that controls movement or in the surrounding structures.
Combined with medical care from a personal
physician, Harris Methodist Fort Worth Hospital can offer
dystonia patients several treatment options to help ease the
discomfort of muscle spasms.
Complementary therapies such as physical therapy
speech therapy may play a role in successfully managing the
effects of dystonia, as well as supporting the medical care that
an individual receives from a physician. Texas Health Harris
Methodist Hospital Fort Worth can offer a wide range of therapies
including speech therapy by a certified Lee Silverman Voice
Treatment (LSVT) Program therapist, a comprehensive physical
therapy program and an occupational therapy program that includes
hand therapy treatment center.
For more information about the Mabee Rehabilitation
Center, call 817-250-2022. For a physician referral, call
What is myoclonus? Like the characteristics of
other associated movement disorders, myoclonus manifests itself
through involuntary, jerk-like or twitching movements often
referred to as positive myoclonus. Myoclonus may also
periodically interrupt voluntary muscle contractions, leading to
periods of uncontrolled posture. This type of interruption is
referred to as negative myoclonus.
Symptoms associated with myoclonus:
- Jerk-like, abrupt, brief involuntary movements of a muscle or
- Involuntary twitching movements
- Interruption of voluntary muscle movement causing individuals
to periodically lose the ability to control posture
Before treating the effects of myoclonus, a
physician will need to confirm that the disorder is not due to
another underlying problem or disease process. Once the disorder
is diagnosed, treatment with various medications may help reduce
the attacks. Please see a physician to determine the appropriate
drug therapy for you.
For a physician referral, call 1-877-THR-WELL (1-877-847-9355).
What is Tourette syndrome? Individuals with this inherited
neurological disorder often display episodes of involuntary body
movements and/or uncontrollable vocal sounds called motor and
vocal tics. Tourette symptoms usually appear during childhood,
before the age of 21, and can be enhanced by symptoms from
associated conditions such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Symptoms of Tourette syndrome include:
- Sudden, rapid, recurrent, involuntary movements of the body
- Sudden, involuntary, recurrent vocalizations such as repeated
throat clearing, grunting, sighing, barking, sniffing, snorting
- Episodes may periodically decrease or increase in frequency
- Tics may subside during activities that engage the individual
such as reading, working and sleeping
Although there is no cure for Tourette syndrome,
symptoms may be treated with a number of medications prescribed
by physicians. Drug therapy for the motor and vocal tics may be
combined with behavior therapy by physicians to help curb
obsessive-compulsive behaviors, ADHD and impulsivity.
Please see a physician for diagnosis and treatment of Tourette
syndrome. For a physician referral, call 1-877-THR-WELL
What is Shy-Drager syndrome? As a
neurodegenerative disorder, Shy-Drager syndrome affects many
different functions in the body such as movement, blood pressure,
the urinary tract, speech and vision. Shy-Drager syndrome is
formally known as multiple system atrophy (MSA).
Symptoms of Shy-Drager syndrome include:
- Stiffness or rigidity
- Freezing or slowed movements
- Instability, loss of balance, lack of coordination
- A significant fall in blood pressure when standing, resulting
in dizziness, lightheadedness, fainting or blurred vision
- Male impotence
- Urinary difficulties
- Speech and swallowing difficulties
- Blurred vision
speech-language pathologists can offer treatment for
swallowing, language, oral motor, speech, cognitive, voice and
fluency disorders related to MSA symptoms. Several speech
therapists at the hospital are certified in the Lee Silverman
Voice Treatment (LSVT) Program, which has gained national
attention in the field of speech pathology as a voice therapy
treatment approach designed to increase vocal loudness and
phonatory efforts in people with Parkinsonian-like symptoms,
resulting in overall speech improvement.
For more information about the speech-language pathology program,
call 817-250-2760. For a physician referral, call 1-877-THR-WELL