Restless Leg Syndrome is a disorder that causes the sufferer to experience uncomfortable sensations in the limbs, most often in the legs, which are alleviated only by moving the affected limbs. It is one of the many issues that fall under the umbrella of Movement Disorders. Anyone can experience RLS, but it is most common in middle-aged and older adults. People with RLS often find it hard to describe what the symptoms feel like: it might be
The following is a case involving a female with a non-specific movement disorder:
A 21-year-old female was referred by her neurologist for counseling and neurofeedback to treat what he deemed to be a Movement Disorder. She had been having symptoms since she was 5 yrs old and had been to countless doctors and mental health specialists. It all began with increased blinking and eye movements and progressed to facial grimacing.
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As she got older her arms began to twinge in pain and twitch. She recognized that she had a compelling need to move her arms, head and neck, almost as though it were an irresistible urge. Her work and school performance were beginning to be severely compromised. Into her 3rd month of treatment, she began to see improvements in the intensity of the symptoms. Her progress was slow, but she was encouraged because nothing else she had ever done caused any positive change. After 14 months of treatment she still has what she referred to as occasional twinges, but her symptoms were greatly reduced! The irresistible urges to move almost constantly were almost gone. She had hope that one day her symptoms would vanish.
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At age 40 w, Alan began dealing with a frozen shoulder and bouts of depression.
Psychogenic Movement Disorder (PMD) is classified as a Medically Unexplained Symptom (MUS). This condition reveals itself typically as a conversion disorder. A conversion disorder with accompanying psychogenic movements is defined by the DSM-IV as a movement disorder which is not related to organic damage to the nervous system; conversion disorders are considered to have a psychological origin. This is not to be confused with factitious disorder or malingering; the symptoms of conversion disorders are not deliberately fashioned or feigned.
PMD functions as an umbrella term for a cluster of movement disorders when doctors can find no neurologic or other medical indication to explain symptoms. PMD can present as any number of neurologically based movement disorders, including tremor, myoclonus, dystonia, chorea, bradykinesia, myoclonus, tics, athetosis, ataxia, or others. Neurologists and psychologists alike are often baffled by PMD. PMD patients are estimated to account for 2-3% of all patients in movement disorder clinics today. Thus, in recent years, the disorder is receiving increased attention and focus.
The emotion and motion centers are very tightly linked within the in the brain. Therefore, it is not uncommon for the body to respond with motor symptoms when there is an emotional stress. Consider a person in the midst of a dangerous situation where the fight or flight mechanism in the brain is activated. Trembling hands is a very common symptom associated with this response. When a person experiences a panic attack, the same shaking response is typical. This movement could be considered as falling under the umbrella of PMD.
Vanessa Hinson, MD, director of the Movement Disorders Program at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, states that
A Neurofeedback practitioner in Australia reports the following remarkable story:
Almost two years ago I began neurofeedback training a then ten-year-old with a movement disorder, Myotonic Dystrophy, who had attention problems, low muscle tone, low energy, poor speech, sleep maintenance issues and sleep apnea. After about sixty sessions, this youngster showed greatly increased energy, improved concentration and speech, normalization of his sleep cycle and no sleep apnea. A formal sleep study documented normalization of his blood oxygen saturation levels when compared with studies conducted prior to Neurofeedback training, and confirmed that the sleep apnea issue had been resolved.
About six months later his mother called to say that he had lost all of the gains we had made with the Neurofeedback. So he came back in twice per week and we were again able to attain the same level of improvements. We now maintain those gains with sessions once per week during school terms. Myotonic Dystrophy is a degenerative condition in which the patient’s health is expected to gradually deteriorate, so it seems this youngster needs ongoing Neurofeedback training to maintain gains and postpone the inevitable deterioration.
Now for the really good news!
Because of this well-known process of deterioration, medical specialists had previously predicted that this boy would be in a wheelchair by now. However, he is now twelve years old and a few months back was encouraged to try out for “Special Olympics.” This is a program here in Australia in which children with disabilities are encouraged to take part in track and field events.
The boy’s mother told me last week that he is now running times in the 400 meters that would have qualified him to run in [...]