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Movement disorders, tough to deal with

trees against sunset
trees against sunsetJeremy Hammond

What is a movement disorder? A neurological disease or condition that affects how you move, in the most simple layman's terms. Generally it includes Parkinsons disease, Huntington disease , cerebral palsy, MSA, PSP, A-Lateral Sclerosis, otherwise known as Lou Gehrig's disease, Multiple Sclerosis and several other slowly debilitating conditions.

These disorders are characterized by both a broad spectrum of symptoms and a poor prognosis. Depending on the malady, like ALS, a life span can be one year to three or four, but for other diseases, like MS, or Parkinsons, the time span is usually longer. But some people defy the mortality odds like Stephan Hawking and happily surprise everyone, including their doctors with their longevity.

Why do some people succumb sooner and some last longer than others with the same neuro-disorder? A physician's guiding care has something to do with it, and the strong anecdotal evidence that a patient's attitude has more and more been proven to make a difference to their long-term outcome. As Michael J. Fox reports in his excellent memoir 'Always Looking Up', "You know the bus will hit you sometime, but you just don't know when." BTW, he's still working, even with his 25+ years of Parkinsons.

Attitude isn't waking up each day with false bravado or petty optimism; it actually takes work and means moving as much as you possibly can, and getting exercise even if that's only raising your arms or legs, and consciously breathing in and out. Attitude means facing the world, going outside, taking any medicines prescribed, (especially your antidepressant). It includes being with other people, joining a support group, seeing comedies and fine music, to be in nature for soul rebuilding. In other words, don't withdraw, accept your condition but don't face it lying down, -or alone!

For all modern medicine has accomplished, movement disorders are the least understood, and medicines are limited, for symptom relief mainly. We use a broad brush to describe them, because they have several things in common: Rigidity of muscles with a tight tone to the point of spasms (called dystonia), decline of muscles (atrophy), a loss of balance, slow hunched movement (dyskinesia) and very often, slurred speech (dysarthria). Also, affected people eventually have problems swallowing, extremity strictures and fatigue. No wonder patients are often frustrated with the slow deterioration of their bodies.

Patients very often can be misdiagnosed and anyone experiencing any symptoms would be served better by going to and consulting with a neurologist specializing in movement disorders. Any large hospital and medical center would be able to provide that.

Much is being done these days in the field of neurology, such as in more medicines, more research; so be hopeful your particular movement disorder will have a remedy soon, if not a cure.
Keep moving!