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Description of the Symptom

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.

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.

Special Concerns

  • 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

CHAPTER PREVIEW: Conditions That May Lead to Abnormal Movement

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