Neurological Diseases and Movement Disorders: Understanding the Connection
Movement disorders are a group of conditions that cause increased or decreased involuntary movement of the limbs. These disorders are caused by various neurological diseases that affect the brain and nervous system. Common examples of neurological diseases that cause movement disorders include Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, Tourette syndrome, and multiple sclerosis.
The two most common types of movement disorders are ataxia and dystonia. Ataxia is a loss of muscle coordination that can affect balance, gait, and speech, while dystonia involves involuntary muscle contractions that can cause twisting movements and pain. Other types of movement disorders include tremors, chorea, myoclonus, and tics.
Causes of Movement Disorders
The causes of movement disorders vary depending on the type of disorder. Genetics play a role in some movement disorders such as Huntington’s disease. Infections, medicines, damage to the brain, spinal cord or peripheral nerves, metabolic disorders, stroke, vascular diseases, and toxins can also cause movement disorders. Some movement disorders are idiopathic – meaning their underlying cause is unknown.
Symptoms of Movement Disorders
The symptoms of movement disorders vary depending on the type of disorder. Common symptoms include tremors or shaking, stiffness or rigidity in muscles or joints, loss of balance or coordination, difficulty speaking or swallowing, and involuntary facial movements. Some people with movement disorders may also experience chronic pain.
Treatment Options for Movement Disorders
There is no cure for movement disorders yet but there are many treatment options available to alleviate symptoms and improve quality of life for patients. Treatment options for movement disorders vary depending on the type and severity of the disorder. Physical therapy can help improve balance and coordination for individuals with ataxia or other types of movement disorders.
Medications such as beta-blockers, benzodiazepines, GABA analogues and antipsychotic medications can all treat movement disorders along with Botox injections. In some cases, surgery may be recommended to alleviate symptoms of movement disorders that are caused by structural problems in the brain or nervous system.
Medical cannabis has also been shown to have therapeutic value in the treatment of movement disorders according to the medical periodical Handbook of Clinical Neurology. Several studies have reported positive findings of medical cannabis for anorexia nervosa, anxiety, PTSD, psychotic symptoms, agitation in Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, Huntington’s disease, and Tourette syndrome, and dyskinesia in Parkinson’s disease. However, more adequately powered controlled trials are warranted to examine the long and short term efficacy, safety, and tolerability of cannabis for medical use and the mechanisms underpinning its therapeutic potential.
Movement disorders are a group of conditions that cause increased or decreased involuntary movements of the limbs. There are several types of movement disorders with ataxia and dystonia being the most common. Many factors can cause these disorders, including genetics, infections, medicines, damage to the brain, spinal cord or peripheral nerves, metabolic disorders, stroke, vascular diseases and toxins.
Treatment options for movement disorders vary depending on the type and severity of the disorder. Medications such as beta-blockers, benzodiazepines and antipsychotic medications can all treat movement disorders along with physical therapy. Medical cannabis has also been shown to alleviate certain types of movement disorders in some patients. While there is no cure for movement disorders yet, treatment can alleviate symptoms and improve quality of life for patients.