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For most of us, whether picking up a pen or driving a car, our body moves when we want it to. But imagine parts of your body moving without you telling them to. That's what happens to people who have movement disorders such as Parkinson's disease, essential tremor, dystonia and Tourette syndrome.
"Movement disorders can cause too much or too little movement," says Madhavi Thomas, MD, a neurologist on the medical staff at Baylor Scott & White All Saints Medical Center – Fort Worth's Clinic for Movement Disorders. "They really affect quality of life for our patients."
"The Clinic for Movement Disorders was specifically designed to help patients with Parkinson's, essential tremor, dystonia and other movement disorders get the specialized care they need through a multidisciplinary team of physicians and physical, occupational and speech therapists," says Ab Siadati, M.D., medical director of the Deep Brain Stimulation Program at Baylor Fort Worth.
Parkinson's disease is a progressive disease caused by the degeneration of nerve cells in the brain, which leads to a lack of dopamine, according to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS).
Symptoms: Trembling, stiffness of the arms, legs and trunk, slowness of movement, and poor balance and coordination.
Treatment: Medications can mimic dopamine. If they fail, deep brain stimulation is an option. It involves surgically implanting a battery-operated device to deliver electrical stimulation to the brain as a pacemaker does for the heart.
Essential tremor is characterized by uncontrolled shaking or trembling. It affects nearly 5 million Americans, according to AANS.
Symptoms: Shaking of the hands and head, and sometimes the legs and trunk.
Treatment: Several medications are available to reduce symptoms. You may need to try a few before finding one that works for you. If medication is ineffective, deep brain stimulation may be considered
There are 13 types of dystonia, all of which cause involuntary muscle spasms.
Symptoms: Uncontrollable twisting and repetitive movements in any area of the body, including the arms, legs, trunk, neck and eyelids.
Treatment: Botulinum toxin (Botox) injections have been used to block communication from the nerve to the muscles. Medication and surgery are also available.
Typically appearing between the ages of six and 15, Tourette syndrome is characterized by repeated involuntary movements and vocal sounds.
Symptoms: Uncontrolled movements of the face, arms, legs or trunk; involuntary vocalizations such as grunting, shouting or barking
Treatment: Symptoms often subside in the patient's 20s. Medication is available to help control those that are severe enough to interfere with daily function.
Learn More About the Baylor Neuroscience Center Movement Disorders Center
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