What is Hypokinesia?

Sara Schmidt
Sara Schmidt

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.

Hypokinesia can occur from diseases of the basal ganglia.
Hypokinesia can occur from diseases of the basal ganglia.

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.

An individual with hypokinesia suffers from decreased or slow body movements.
An individual with hypokinesia suffers from decreased or slow body movements.

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.

A lengthy illness like the flu may result in hypokinesia.
A lengthy illness like the flu may result in hypokinesia.

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.

Patients suffering from hypokinesia may benefit from stretching on a regular basis.
Patients suffering from hypokinesia may benefit from stretching on a regular basis.

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.

Influenza may result in hypokinesia.
Influenza may result in hypokinesia.
Sara Schmidt
Sara Schmidt

A graduate of Southeast Missouri State University, Sara has a Master’s Degree in English, which she puts to use writing for wiseGEEK and several magazines, websites, and nonprofit organizations. She has published her own novella, and has other literary projects currently in progress. Sara’s varied interests have also led her to teach children in Spain, tutor college students, run CPR and first aid classes, and organize student retreats.

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