Diagnosing Your Movement Disorder

Mar 11, 2024
Have you noticed movement issues in your body? If so, it’s important to seek medical attention to identify the root cause. Let’s look at the signs that might warrant a visit to our practice.

Movement disorders encompass a wide range of conditions that can affect your ability to move normally. From Parkinson's disease to essential tremor and dystonia, here at New England Institute for Neurology and Headache, our team understands that these disorders can significantly impact your quality of life. 

Diagnosing a movement disorder can be complex, requiring our careful evaluation. Here, we want to explore some common signs and symptoms of movement disorders and help you understand the diagnostic process involved.

Recognizing the signs

Before diagnosing movement disorders, it’s important to understand that one of the primary challenges is that symptoms can vary widely from person to person. Here are some common signs of which you should be aware:


Involuntary shaking or trembling of a limb, which can occur at rest or during movement, is a hallmark symptom of many movement disorders, including Parkinson's disease and essential tremor.


This condition refers to the slowness of movement and can manifest as difficulty initiating movement, decreased arm swing while walking, or general sluggishness in daily activities.

Muscle rigidity

Stiffness or resistance to movement in your muscles can make it challenging to perform simple tasks and may be accompanied by discomfort or pain.


Dyskinesia is the involuntary, often repetitive, movement that can affect any part of your body. It may present with twisting, writhing, or jerking motions.

Impaired balance and coordination

Difficulty maintaining balance, having an unsteady gait, and experiencing frequent falls can indicate underlying movement disorders, especially in conditions like ataxia.

Seeking a diagnosis

If you experience any of these symptoms, reach out to our professional team for a thorough evaluation right away.  The diagnostic process typically involves:

Learning your medical history

We review your medical history, including any family history of movement disorders, as genetics can play a role in some conditions.

Performing a physical examination

During a comprehensive physical examination, we assess your motor function, reflexes, coordination, and muscle tone.

Performing a neurological assessment

We may conduct specific neurological tests to evaluate your cognitive function, sensory perception, and motor skills.

Looking at imaging studies

We may order imaging tests, such as an MRI or CT scan, to rule out other possible causes of your symptoms like brain injury or structural abnormalities.

Performing laboratory tests

Blood tests may be performed to check for markers of inflammation, metabolic disorders, or genetic mutations associated with certain movement disorders.

Providing specialized evaluations

Depending on your symptoms, we may have a neurologist or movement disorder specialist perform further assessments, including electromyography (EMG) or nerve conduction studies.

Diagnosing a movement disorder can be challenging due to the variability of symptoms and the overlap with other conditions. However, with our careful evaluation and appropriate testing, we can accurately identify the underlying cause of your symptoms. 

An early diagnosis can provide effective treatment strategies and improve your quality of life. If you're experiencing any unusual changes in your movement, don't hesitate to seek our medical attention. Our team will advocate for your health and well-being.

Call our New England Institute for Neurology and Headache office in Stamford, Connecticut, today at 203-914-1900, or book an appointment online any time, day or night.