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.
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
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.
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.
Get enough sleep and avoid too much stress. Take safety measures to avoid injury. Follow the treatment plan your health care provider prescribes.
Call your provider if:
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.
Jankovic J, Lang AE. Diagnosis and assessment of Parkinson disease and other movement disorders. In: Jankovic J, Mazziotta JC, Pomeroy SL, Newman NJ, eds. Bradley and Daroff's Neurology in Clinical Practice. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2022:chap 24.
Okun MS, Lang AE. Other movement disorders. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 382.
Reviewed By: Evelyn O. Berman, MD, Assistant Professor of Neurology and Pediatrics at University of Rochester, Rochester, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.