Movement Disorders -- A Snapshot
There are more than 20 different kinds of movement disorders, chronic, painful, often incurable neurological conditions. More than 40 million people in the U.S. alone live with a movement disorder. That figure represents nearly one in seven Americans. That is twice the number of people with diabetes and more than four times the number of people who have survived cancer. (source: wemove.org)
Some of the most common movement disorders include:
Restless leg syndrome -- sensations in legs, sleep disturbance
Essential tremor -- shaking hands, often misidentified as nervousness
Parkinson’s Disease, Multiple System Atrophy, Progressive Supranuclear Palsy - slow, jerky movements, loss of balance, rigidity
Cervical and Focal Dystonia -- rigid muscles, spasm and/or tremor in neck (cervical) or other muscle groups.
Spasticity - uncontrollable muscle spasms. Inability to relax contractions.
Blepharospasm -- uncontrollable, forceful blinking
Spasmodic Dysphonia -- impaired speech due to muscle spasm
What happens to people with movement disorders?
Most people with movement disorders:
• live with chronic, painful conditions that are often unrecognized or misdiagnosed
• visit an average of 15 doctors over 5 years before receiving a correct diagnosis
• are often stigmatized or misunderstood by friends, family, employers and doctors.
What you can do
If you live with a Movement Disorder seek help from specialists and others who are compassionate and open. If you do not live with a movement condition, be supportive of those who do.
Remember that people with Movement Disorders should visit a Movement Disorder neurologist -- not a general neurologist. Movement Disorder neurologists have special expertise in the diagnosis and treatment of movement disorders.
Be positive and encouraging! Take good care of yourself and reach out to others. Your knowledge can change lives!