Movement Disorders

Movement disorders can cause tremors, tics and even pain. The discomfort caused by a movement disorder can be so great that even the simplest of activities, such as walking, can be difficult to do. With experience and specialized expertise, the specialists at Indiana University Health Neuroscience bring relief and control to the lives of people with movement disorders.

At IU Health Neuroscience, a team of neurologists and neurosurgeons work together to provide individualized care for people with movement disorders. With sophisticated diagnostic testing, the most current treatments, and an array of education and support services, our team helps people with movement disorders best manage their condition so they can enjoy life to their fullest ability.

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1. What We Treat  
2. Diagnosis  
3. Treatment Options  
4. Clinical Trials  

What We Treat

The IU Health Neuroscience team has extensive experience treating a wide range of movement disorders, including:

We have particular expertise in Parkinson's disease and Huntington's disease. Designated as a Center for Care by the National Parkinson's Foundation and a Center of Excellence by the Huntington's Disease Society of America, we provide the highest-level multidisciplinary care for people with these disorders. People from across Indiana and beyond seek the advanced treatments and specialized expertise of our Parkinson's and Huntington's disease teams.

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The earlier a person with a movement disorder begins treatment, the better. Treatment is more likely to control symptoms—and for longer—if it is started when the disease is still in its early stages. That is why prompt, accurate diagnosis is so important.

Diagnosis is based on a complete physical and neurological exam, neurodiagnostic testing and laboratory testing. Because our doctors have extensive experience treating movement disorders, they possess the clinical knowledge to properly identify signs and symptoms, and many people seek their highly specialized expertise when frustrated with lack of diagnosis or adequate treatment.

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Treatment Options

When medication alone cannot control a movement disorder, IU Health Neuroscience provides a variety of advanced treatment options, including:

Deep Brain Stimulation

In deep brain stimulation (DBS), our neurosurgeons place electrodes deep in the brain. The electrodes are connected to a pacemaker-like device implanted under the skin near the collarbone. The device sends regular electrical impulses to the target areas of the brain to correct excessive or misguided signals in the brain. DBS is a treatment option for some patients with Parkinson’s disease, tremors and dystonia. IU Health Neuroscience has performed DBS for more than 15 years and has the largest, most comprehensive DBS program in the state.

Ablative Surgeries

In ablative surgery, our neurosurgeons use electrical charges to destroy a tiny section of the brain. Using sophisticated, 3D brain mapping and MRI, our experienced neurosurgeons can identify the exact area of the brain that is causing abnormal movements. Then, with exact precision, the neurosurgeons apply a small charge directly to the brain via electrodes. The charge interrupts the electrical currents within that section of the brain. Once that part of the brain cannot send messages, abnormal movements are more controlled.

EMG-Guided Botulinum Injections

Our specialists use botulinum toxin injections to give patients effective, temporary relief from muscle spasms and contractions. Too much botulinum toxin can be fatal, but in small doses, it is very safe. When botulism is injected directly into a person's muscle, the botulinum toxin blocks neurotransmitter messages, and helps reduce and eliminate muscle spasms. Each treatment provides relief for about three to four months.

Support And Education

Because movement disorders have a profound impact on a person's daily functioning and quality of life, each treatment plan takes into account the emotional toll of the disorder. Our neuropsychologists provide treatment for associated anxiety, depression or mood disorders. And our dedicated staff—including an experienced social worker—spends time discussing the many facets of care with patients and their families, as movement disorders can have a significant impact on both.

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Clinical Trials

As a premier research institution, our physician-scientists play a leading role in advancing our understanding of the causes and progression of movement disorders. Patients can gain access to the latest treatments through our participation in multi-center observational or drug studies for Parkinson's and Huntington's diseases.

Find more information about clinical trials through the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (CTSI).

Learn more about Huntington's disease.

Learn more about Parkinson's disease.

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