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Movement - uncontrolled or slow

Dystonia; Involuntary slow and twisting movements; Choreoathetosis; Leg and arm movements - uncontrollable; Arm and leg movements - uncontrollable; Slow involuntary movements of large muscle groups; Athetoid movements

Uncontrolled or slow movement is a problem with muscle tone, usually in the large muscle groups. The problem leads to slow, uncontrollable jerky movements of the head, limbs, trunk, or neck.

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Muscular atrophy

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Considerations

The abnormal movement may be reduced or disappear during sleep. Emotional stress makes it worse.

Abnormal and sometimes strange postures may occur because of these movements.

Causes

The slow twisting movements of muscles (athetosis) or jerky muscle contractions (dystonia) may be caused by one of many conditions, including:

Sometimes two conditions (such as a brain injury and medicine) interact to cause the abnormal movements when neither one alone would cause a problem.

Home Care

Get enough sleep and avoid too much stress. Take safety measures to avoid injury. Follow the treatment plan your health care provider prescribes.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your provider if:

What to Expect at Your Office Visit

The provider will perform a physical exam. This may include a detailed examination of the nervous and muscle systems.

You'll be asked about your medical history and symptoms, including:

Tests that may be ordered include:

Treatment is based on the movement problem the person has and on the condition that may be causing the problem. If medicines are used, the provider will decide which medicine to prescribe based on the person's symptoms and any test results.

Related Information

Cerebral palsy
Encephalitis
Loss of brain function - liver disease
Huntington disease

References

Jankovic J, Lang AE. Diagnosis and assessment of Parkinson disease and other movement disorders. In: Daroff RB, Jankovic J, Mazziotta JC, Pomeroy SL, eds. Bradley's Neurology in Clinical Practice. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 23.

Lang AE. Other movement disorders. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 410.

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Review Date: 3/13/2019  

Reviewed By: Alireza Minagar, MD, MBA, Professor, Department of Neurology, LSU Health Sciences Center, Shreveport, LA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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