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Movement Disorder Services at UPMC in Central Pa.

Our neurologists provide expert diagnosis and ongoing management for all types of movement disorders, including Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease, dystonia, and tremors.

What are Movement Disorders?

Movement disorders are neurological conditions that occur when a problem with the nervous system causes abnormal body movements. Some movement disorders cause increased body movements, while others cause reduced or slow body movements. Often, movement disorders cannot be cured, but treatment can control symptoms, reduce discomfort, and improve quality of life.

Why Choose UPMC for Movement Disorder Treatment?

At UPMC in central Pa., our caring specialists including board-certified neurologists and advanced (specially trained) practitioners are committed to helping you manage the physical and emotional aspects of movement disorders.

Our neurology and neurosurgery specialists also understand that movement disorders affect each person differently. That's why we provide you with an accurate diagnosis and create a personalized care plan that uses the latest therapies to manage your symptoms and improve your quality of life.

In addition to offering the most advanced treatment options for movement disorders, our specialists work closely with other health care providers and specialists to coordinate your care and connect you with the additional services you need.

What are the Symptoms of Movement Disorders?

All movement disorders cause abnormal body movements. However, some movement disorders cause increased body movements, while others cause reduced or slow body movements. Symptoms vary depending on the type of movement disorder you have and how it affects you. Common symptoms include:

  • Loss of balance or coordination
  • Clumsiness
  • Difficulty walking
  • Uncontrollable shaking (tremor) in a part of your body
  • Repetitive involuntary movements or vocalizations
  • Slow movement
  • Stiffness
  • Involuntary muscle contractions
  • Problems with speech
  • Limb or muscle weakness
  • Numbness

Who is at Risk for Movement Disorders?

Researchers are not sure exactly what causes movement disorders, but they are studying how genetics and environmental factors may affect your chances of developing a movement disorder.
Some research has shown that there may be a link between some movement disorders and exposure to toxic chemicals, such as lead, herbicides, fungicides, and insecticides, that are used in the farming and manufacturing industries. People who work with these chemicals, or people who have a family history of movement disorders, may be at an increased risk of developing a movement disorder.

Common Movement Disorders

  • Ataxia. Ataxia affects the part of your brain that controls coordination and can cause clumsiness, limb movements, and problems with balance and speech.
  • Dystonia. Dystonia causes involuntary muscle contractions, abnormal twisting, and repetitive movements.
  • Essential tremor. Essential tremor causes uncontrolled shaking of a particular part of the body, such as the hand, arm, head, neck, or voice.
  • Huntington's disease. Huntington's disease is a progressive hereditary condition that causes involuntary movements, cognitive impairment, and psychiatric symptoms.
  • Parkinson's disease. Parkinson's disease is a progressive condition, meaning that it gets worse over time. Parkinson's disease causes tremors, slow movement, stiffness, and problems with mobility and balance.
  • Tourette syndrome. Tourette syndrome is a condition that causes sudden involuntary movements or vocal sounds called tics.

Diagnostic Tests for Movement Disorders

Your neurologist will conduct a variety of tests to diagnose your movement disorder, including:

  • Neurological exam. During a neurological exam, your doctor will evaluate your thinking and memory skills, as well as your balance, motor skills, and reflexes.
  • Imaging tests. Your doctor may order imaging exams, such as an X-ray, MRI or CT scan, to check for problems.
  • Bloodwork
  • Electromyography (EMG). An EMG measures electrical impulses along your nerves, nerve roots and muscles to find out how well your nerves and muscles work together.
  • Lumbar puncture (spinal tap). During a spinal tap, your neurologist will remove a sample of spinal fluid from your spinal canal to check for problems.

Treatments for Movement Disorders

Treatment for movement disorders depends on the specific type of disorder, your symptoms, and the severity of your condition. Depending on your condition, your doctor may recommend one or more treatments, including:

  • Lifestyle and nutrition changes. Your doctor may recommend lifestyle or nutrition changes as part of your movement disorder treatment plan. Eating a healthy diet, getting plenty of sleep, exercising, and other strategies may help to manage your symptoms and reduce medication side effects.
  • Medications. Your doctor may recommend medications or supplements to relieve movement disorder symptoms.
  • Botulinum toxin (Botox) injections. Botox injections may be used to treat movement disorders that cause muscle spasms or contractions.
  • Surgery. If medications are not effectively managing your movement disorder, your neurology specialist may recommend surgery. Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is a surgical procedure that can provide effective treatment for involuntary movements and problems with mobility and balance. DBS can be performed while you are awake or under anesthesia.

Need More Information?

Please contact the location below that is most convenient to you.






Spring Grove

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