Ataxia (meaning “without order” or “lack of order”) is a sign looked for on a neurologic exam that shows movement that is not coordination or gait that looks abnormal. This sign means that there is damage or dysfunction to the areas of the brain that control movement, balance, and coordination.
Myoclonus is a brief, uncontrolled contraction of a muscle or group of muscles. This jerking movement results from damage to the brain or spinal cord and has been linked to many diseases affecting the nervous system, such as Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and many more.
Dystonia means “abnormal tone” that can happen in any body part. It is a movement disorder that results in constant or sporadic muscular spasms, abnormal postures, movements that occur over and over, and twisting. Common forms of dystonia are “writer’s cramp” and “torticollis.” Many causes of dystonia exist, such as genetics, trauma, infections, and certain medications.
A tremor is an involuntary, rhythmic movement of one or more body parts. It is the most common movement disorder that can affect multiple body parts. The most commonly affected areas are the hands, head, face, vocal cords, trunk, and legs. A tremor can sometimes be a sign of another neurological disorder. There are many diseases that can cause a person to have a tremor, including Parkinson’s disease.
Tics stem from a movement disorder that causes sudden movement anywhere in the body. These movements differ from other movement disorders because the person intentionally moves. Tics are usually voluntary movements performed out of a sense of need to relieve the desire. Some examples of tics include eye blinking, throat clearing, toe-curling, abdominal tensing, vocal outbursts, and many more. Tourette’s syndrome is the most severe form of tic movements.