It refers to a disorder that consists of a decreased muscular movement.
Hypokinesia is a movement disorder that results in a small amplitude in bodily movements.
This condition is related to the term Akinesia, which refers to the absence of movement, and Bradykinesia, which consists of a remarkable slowness in bodily movement.
However, some people tend to group all of these terms under the umbrella of “Bradykinesia.”
This tendency leads to some inconsistencies in how people address or define such concepts.
While Bradykinesia is an impaired ability to move the body swiftly on command; Hypokinesia is the reduction of speed and amplitude in muscle movement.
This disorder is related to degenerative neurological conditions such as the Parkison’s disease (PD).
The main reason why Hypokinesia occurs is due to a disruption in the basal ganglia, a collection of nuclei on both sides of the brain’s thalamus.
Sometimes, the basal ganglia use glutamate to transmit signals from the brain to the body.
These nuclei process information on movement, and fine-tune the activity of brain circuits responsible for muscle responses.
Several conditions can negatively impact the muscle natural movement and response in such a manner that the patient ends up developing Hypokinesia.
More often than not, this disorder can appear as a cause of PD or other similar diseases. Hypokinesia can also be the result of conditions like the ones listed here below:
- Lewy Body Disease, also known as Lewy Body Dementia, features the loss of mental functions that causes stiffening or rigidity in the muscles, and that results in Hypokinesia.
- Multiple system atrophy (MSA), which refers to a progressive neurodegenerative disease that features autonomic failure, Hypokinesis, cerebellar syndrome, or all of them at once.
- Schizophrenia, a cognitive condition that comes along abnormal motor functions due to an imbalance in the brain’s biochemistry.
- Strokes, in some cases, can cause Hypokinesia that only lasts from 6 to 12 months.
- Cortical-basal Ganglionic Degeneration (CBGD), a rare condition which affects the Globus Pallidus, a part of the nervous system that has a significant role in the voluntary muscle movement.
- Hyperammonemia, which can induce neurological alterations by increasing the amount of glutamate. That could result in the inhibition of muscle movement.
- Progressive Supranuclear Palsy, also known as the Steele-Richardson-Olszewski Syndrome, is another Parkinson-like disease that features Hypokinesia without decrement.
The most noticeable signs of Hypokinesia are the issues with motor control, along with a partial loss of muscle movement.
However, patients that suffer from this condition can also display non-motor symptoms.
When it comes to motor symptoms, abnormal movement can show up in different parts of the body, and in a wide variety of ways. Some of them are listed here below:
- Hypomimia, a medical sign characterised by a remarkably reduced degree of facial gestures and expressions. It can also be a symptom of PD.
- Hypophonia, which is an abnormally weak or soft speech. It’s the result of incoordination of the vocal muscles.
- Motor Aprosodia, the physical inability to produce emotionally vocal tones.
- Tremor, which refers to involuntary and uncontrollable muscle contractions that result in shaking movements.
- Micrographia, a disorder that features abnormally small handwriting due to the signals from the basal ganglia becoming less efficient.
- Slow or reduced shoulder shrug and arm raise.
- Decreased arm swing.
- Slower or smaller movements when closing the hand or tapping with the fingers.
- Remarkably poor dexterity in manual activities.
- Smaller movements when stomping the feet.
- Flexed-forward posture
- Difficulty in starting even basic movements.
On the other hand, non-motor symptoms come in the form of mental and physical signs similar to the ones seen in PD. Some of them are listed here below:
- Inability to multi-task or concentrate.
- Slowness in the thought process.
- Chronic fatigue.
- Low blood pressure (when standing).
- Pain or discomfort.
- Loss of smell.
- Erectile Dysfunction.
Several options are available to either deal with Hypokinesia or alleviate the symptoms caused by this condition.
Most typical treatments involve the use of medications. Some of them include Levodopa, which several doctors also use to deal with cases of PD.
Sometimes, doctors combine Levodopa with Carbidopa to reinforce the production of dopamine in the brain.
Many other medications can increase the level of dopamine, but such medicines alone cannot stop the progression of Hypokinesia.
That’s why medical experts resort to other procedures such as deep brain stimulation, and physical therapy.
Deep brain stimulation is a neurosurgical procedure that consists of creating small holes in the skull to implant small devices that send electrical signals to brain areas responsible for body and muscle movement.
This surgical treatment might bring some complications but, more often than not, is a remarkably safe procedure.