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Description of the Symptom

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The chapter describes pathology that may lead to "abnormal movement." Because abnormal movement is associated with a wide spectrum of movement abnormalities, it is most appropriate to first describe normal movement. Normal movement is characterized as accurate/precise, coordinated, smooth, effortless, and purposeful/intentional. Additionally, normal movement is manifested as a countless variety of possible movements. Simply stated, abnormal movement then is any movement that lacks any or all of those characteristics.

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With brain injury or disease, the areas of the brain that control the cognitive, visual, and motor functions involved in movement may be injured, resulting in a weakening or absence of the many functions required for purposeful movement and/or the development of abnormal patterns of posture and movement that are incompatible with the performance of normal activities.

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Special Concerns

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  • A change in one's prior abnormal movement presentation, including but not limited to:

    • Increase or decrease of tremor

    • Worsening incoordination

    • Decrease in accuracy of movement

    • Decrease in movement speed

  • A new onset of abnormal movement not associated with the original purpose of the physical therapy visit. This may include:

    • Change in motor control of face, eyes, arm, leg, trunk

    • Tremor

    • Difficulty talking

    • Loss of coordination

    • Loss of balance

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CHAPTER PREVIEW: Conditions That May Lead to Abnormal Movement

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