Movement Disorders

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

At the IU Health Neuroscience Center, 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 manage their movement disorder so they can enjoy life more fully.

What We Treat

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

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

The earlier a patient with a movement disorder begins treatment, the better. Treatment is more likely to control symptoms—and for longer—if it starts 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 are renowned experts in treating movement disorders, they have the clinical knowledge to identify signs and symptoms. Many people seek their highly specialized expertise when frustrated with lack of diagnosis or adequate treatment.

When medicine alone cannot control a movement disorder, the IU Health Neuroscience Center 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. The IU Health Neuroscience Center has performed DBS for more than 15 years and has the largest, most comprehensive DBS program in Indiana.

Ablative Surgeries

In ablative surgery, our neurosurgeons use electrical charges to eliminate a tiny section of the brain. Using sophisticated, 3D brain mapping and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), our experienced neurosurgeons identify the exact area of the brain that causes 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 is disrupted, abnormal movements are more controlled.

Electromyography (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 & Education

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

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 get the latest treatments through our participation in multi-center observational or drug studies for Parkinson's and Huntington's disease.

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