Dysdiadochokinesia is a disorder of motor control. It can be diagnosed with the occurrence of difficulty performing rapid alternating movements by opposing muscle groups.
A small subset of people have this neurological movement disorder [Dysdiadochokinesia] that causes involuntary movements of the arms and legs.
It’s characterized by rapid movements called “dyskinesias”, as well as slow, writhing movements called “choreoathetoid movements”.
DDK, short for Dysdiadochokinesia in context of MS, is a movement disorder that presents itself in numerous ways.
DDK may affect at least three major body areas: the shoulders, the hips, and the mouth.
If you’ve been diagnosed with DDK, it is likely that one or more of the following symptoms apply:
- slow or unusual movement; difficulties with balance; clumsiness or wobbliness.
- In addition to having problems with the way things taste, dysdiadochokinesia often affects a person’s ability to coordinate their movements.
- Often, this manifests by seemingly random arm movements or quickly moving hands and legs that appear overly shaky or rigid.
- Another way that dysdiadochokinesia shows up is in speech.
- Talking with someone who is suffering from dysdiadochokinesia can be hard at times because what they are saying may sound disjointed or confusing.
- Another symptom of dysdiadochokinesia is the inability to change the direction of one’s movements.
There are a number of ways in which a person’s daily life can be disrupted if they suffer from Dysdiadochokinesia problems.
It makes simple things like running or unscrewing light bulbs or turning bottles over from across the room from a flat surface almost impossible to do.
The simple act of repeating one to three syllables in a row, such as “pa-ta-ka” may be difficult for them.
Causes Of Dysdiadochokinesia
Dysdiadochokinesia is typically associated with time and age, but its roots can be traced back to an older cause – injury to the cerebellum.
The cerebellum is the second largest part of the brain and helps with voluntary muscle movements, regulating coordination and balance throughout the body.
Because DDK is typically associated with damage to the left hemisphere of the brain, it can sometimes lead to multiple sclerosis (a neurological disease that affects the central nervous system);
Friedreich’s ataxia (a degenerative disease of the nervous system that results in ataxia – an inability to coordinate voluntary movements);
and/or ataxic dysarthria (a speech disorder).
One of the ways a doctor performs Dysdiadochokinesia diagnosis is through certain bodily maneuvers.
In the early stages, your doctor may refer you to a neurologist who specializes in rapid alternating movements.
These tests can be performed in the doctor’s office and typically include repetitive sequencing movements.
Such as tapping the fingers together or rapidly and repeatedly pointing and flexing the toes.
There are definitely other evaluations that go on behind the scenes, some of which might seem more odd but they all serve a purpose.
For example, one test is to rapidly flip your hand back and forth several time until you become exhausted enough to stop.
Another physical test that you may need to pass is about point to point movement.
You’ll be asked to touch your nose and then, using the same finger and as quickly as possible, touch the outstretched hand of an examiner.
This is a test of agility and response time – it also ensures that you are physically fit enough to move around without too much trouble.
The most common one is the heel-shin test, where you’ll place one foot (the heel) against another person’s shin just below the knee and then slide it down.
You should aim for a quick sliding motion that falls into a smooth rhythm, lasting about six to eight inches over the whole length of the leg.
Another way to check for the disorder is the Romberg test. The person will stand with eyes closed and feet together. If they can balance in this position, it might rule out DDK.
There is the Gait test. This entails walking on a regular flat surface, and then on tiptoes.
You may feel like you’ve lost control over your hands, arms, legs, feet or another body part if you’re diagnosed with DDK.
If symptoms are thought to be from a cerebral lesion, your doctor will order an MRI scan. The scan will also analyze the size of your brain cavity and identify any lesions.
There are many causes of a cerebral lesion and for this reason doctors may be baffled when it comes to diagnosing what is causing the problem.
This can be compounded by the fact that DDK so often manifests in similar ways as other disorders, making it difficult to pinpoint the cause(s) involved.
However, one thing that patients tend to agree with is that the treatment is not always well received.
Especially if side effects are involved or if there are obstacles preventing families or caregivers from completing care on their own.
With physical therapy, symptoms might not completely dissipate – but they will most certainly become more manageable.
Exercises For Dysdiadochokinesia
If you have Dysdiadochokinesia, be sure to consult a physical therapist or other qualified medical professional before performing any exercise regimen at home.
Additionally, if you are planning your exercise routines make sure to work out in a safe environment.
If exercising indoors, avoid putting too much strain on your joints by working out on hardwood flooring or marble.
For instance because this can lead to injury when one is moving about in an unstable manner.
Even though you may be starting your training program with the best of intentions, you should never begin exercising without first warming up your muscles.
When you warm up, your body helps to decrease the chances of injury and helps to increase performance.
Dysdiadochokinesia is a common symptom among adults.
The symptom can appear in anyone at any given time in their life, whether it’s stressful or not, although cases have been known to occur due to certain neurological conditions.
Treatment for dysdiadochokinesia may be suggested by your doctor based on which form of dyskinesis you are suffering from if he finds out the root cause of your condition.