Illinois Neurological Institute

Conditions We Treat

Movement disorders are neurological diseases that affect control over the way the body moves. These diseases often result in damage or abnormal function to an area of the brain that controls movement, called the basal ganglia. Approximately 6 million people in the United States have movement disorders. Movement disorders can be categorized in two ways, disorders which cause excessive movement (hyperkinesia) or disorders which cause lack of movement (hypokinesia).

There are several types of movement disorders that we treat at our Movement Disorders Center:

Essential Tremor (ET) This is the most common movement disorder, affecting about 1.5 million people in the United States. This condition is chronic and causes involuntary shaking or tremors usually in the hands and arms. It can also cause tremors of the head, voice and legs. The tremors typically occur while doing something purposeful, such as writing, buttoning clothes or holding a glass. This movement disorder can be hereditary and disabling.

Idiopathic Parkinson’s Disease (IPD) Parkinson’s disease is the second most common movement disorder in United States, affecting approximately 1 million people. Parkinson’s disease manifests itself differently in each patient, but often causes tremors in the hands and legs while they are at rest. It can also cause rigidity or slowness of movements as well as balance problems. Parkinson’s disease is often mis-diagnosed--some studies suggest up to 75% of patients can be incorrectly diagnosed; which is why seeking specialty care is of utmost importance. Early treatment and management is critical to long term functioning and quality of life.

Dystonia Dystonia ranks as the third most common movement disorder in the United States, however likely the most under-diagnosed and under-treated. It is characterized by involuntary muscle spasms which occur in one area or throughout the entire body. These spasms force the affected body parts into painful movements and postures and can limit range of motion and cause disability.

Atypical Parkinsonism This is the name given to a variety of disorders which have similar symptoms to Parkinson’s disease. The difference is, they do not respond to the typical treatments used for Parkinson’s disease and also exhibit other unique characteristics. Unfortunately, the atypical parkinsonsian syndromes are much more rapidly progressive and difficult to treat. Early recognition of these conditions is also imperative to aid in These disorders include: multiple system atrophy (MSA), corticobasal degeneration (CBD), progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) and dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB).

Huntington’s Disease (HD) Huntington’s disease is a rare, genetic condition that leads to abnormal involuntary movements called chorea, mood disorders such as depression and anxiety, as well as cognitive impairment and dementia. Patients are diagnosed through genetic testing. Genetic counseling services are available as needed.

Along with these disorders, specialists at the Illinois Neurological Institute’s Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Center also treats:

  • Tourette’s syndrome and tic disorders
  • Wilson’s disease
  • Tardive dyskinesia/dystonia
  • Neurodegenerative cerebellar ataxias
  • Psychogenic movement disorders