Complex movement disorders describe any combination of atypical movements that interfere with a person’s desired movements. Kids who have complex movement disorders might experience too much or too little movement, or they might have coordination problems.
There are several types of complex movement disorders, but most are categorized as:
Common hyperkinetic disorders include:
Kids who have dystonia have muscles that tighten involuntarily, causing uncontrollable, repetitive, stiff, twisting or exaggerated motions. Symptoms can range from mild to severe and might interfere with daily activities, depending on which areas of the body are affected.
Dystonia causes include:
The most common symptoms of this type of movement disorder are slow, repetitive, involuntary movements of the mouth and tongue. Tardive syndromes can also range from twisting movements of the entire body to quick dance-like (also known as choreatic) movements. Often, kids who have this condition also experience a sense of restlessness.
Tardive syndromes are caused by exposure to certain antipsychotic medicines (such as haloperidol). Because Tardive syndromes are caused by medication, the symptoms usually appear after a child has been taking the medication for some time.
The term “chorea” comes from the Greek word meaning “to dance.” This disorder causes brief, irregular and involuntary movements that appear to flow from one muscle to the next in different parts of the body.
The form of chorea seen most often in children is called Sydenham’s chorea. It is extremely rare and occurs after strep (streptococcal) infections. Other rare causes of chorea disease in children include side effects from medication or toxins, stroke, and genetic metabolic conditions.
Many factors might increase a child’s risk for developing a complex movement disorder. Some of the most common include:
Because the symptoms and effects of complex movement disorders in children vary depending on the type of disorder, the impact on quality of life differs from person to person.
Some common symptoms and effects of complex movement disorders include:
Complex movement disorders can be difficult to diagnose and treat. That’s why Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare established a Complex Movement Disorders Clinic which includes specialists from neurology, rehabilitation medicine, neurosurgery, orthopedics and rehabilitation therapies.
In most cases, specialists can make a diagnosis by visually examining a child’s movements. Because some complex movement disorders are caused by an underlying health condition or injury, however, additional testing and evaluation might be done to ensure that other medical conditions don’t need to be addressed.
If your child is being evaluated for complex movement disorders, your child might have common diagnosis tests like:
Blood and urine analysis.
Genetic or DNA tests.
Rehabilitation therapies evaluation.
Neuropsychological evaluations—to address concerns with attention, memory, learning, and problem-solving.
Nutrition and feeding evaluations, which might include swallowing studies.
Radiology and imaging tests.
A developmental assessment conducted by a neurologist, pediatric rehabilitation medicine specialist and neurosurgeon
Some of the most common treatments and therapies associated with complex movement disorders are:
Injected medicines like botulinum toxin and phenol.
If your child has a complex movement disorder, your family might see a wide range of specialists who work together to provide a comprehensive treatment plan using state-of-the-art technology.
Your care team at Gillette can help you determine if and when to work with experts in:
Our team of complex movement disorder specialists strives to help your child improve function and enhance their quality of life.