What is Hypokinesia?

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  • Written By: Sara Schmidt
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 27 September 2019
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When a person suffers from decreased bodily movement, it is often referred to as hypokinesia. This condition can result from several factors, such as Parkinson's disease or a mental health disorder. A lengthy illness, such as a strong case of influenza, can result in the illness as well. Its treatment varies depending on its origin.

In addition to regular physical activity, motor function may also be diminished in cases of hypokinesia. Some sufferers of the condition experience slow body movement, while others may cease moving to an extent. When the disorder occurs in babies, it is known as Illum syndrome, and can include mental or physical retardation as symptoms.

Five types of hypokinesia exist. Patients who experience a general slowness in their movements often have the Bradykinesia type of the condition. An example of this might include a patient with Huntington's disease, Parkinson's disease, or another form of basal ganglia disease. In terms of Parkinson's disease, this condition is known as one of three defining symptoms of the disease.

Patients who experience difficulty maintaining an upright posture are typically diagnosed with postural instability. Also known as a balance disorder, this condition can result in several other symptoms, such as lightheadedness or otherwise unexplained feelings of giddiness. One's perception and sense of space can also suffer under this condition. Postural instability may affect people with degenerative brain conditions, autoimmune disorders, and other conditions.


Freezing hypokinesia occurs when patients cannot move their own muscles in the way they intend to. Though they may wish to move their leg or other muscles, their bodies simply will not accommodate their wishes. Several basal ganglia diseases and other conditions may result in this form of the disease.

Those who are unable to command their body movements due to problems with their central nervous system may be experiencing the Akinesia type of hypokinesia. Causes of this type of disorder vary according to the cause of the central nervous system damage. Parkinson's disease can result in this type of hypokinesia as well.

Rigidity is the final type of hypokinesia. This occurs when the body resists movement due to an increase in muscle tone. Patients who exhibit seemingly random, jerky movements may be suffering from this disorder. When patients with this condition attempt to move quickly, spasticity can occur. This results in the patient being unable to control motor function.

Depending on its cause, hypokinesia can be treatable. It may even be cured by the complete recovery of a patient, if the medical cause is also curable. In incurable cases, it can sometimes be managed with medication or physical therapy.


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