Treatment for movement disorders in Denver

HealthONE's movement disorder doctors use advanced technologies, medical treatments and surgical options to help our patients. We do this by providing comprehensive care with customized treatment plans that meet each person’s individual needs. This ensures that whether you are experiencing tremors, involuntary muscle contractions or something else, we can help improve your quality of life.

To learn more about HealthONE's movement disorders services, call (303) 575-0055.

What are movement disorders?

Every single movement a person makes involves an interaction with the nervous system and muscles. Most of the time these movements are voluntary (intentional). However, sometimes voluntary movements are slowed or involuntary (unintentional) movements occur. Neurological conditions that lead to these types of abnormal movements are often classified as "movement disorders."

Understanding the type of movement disorder you have as well as the underlying cause is essential to creating an effective treatment plan. Our expert, award-winning team of neurologists who specialize in movement disorders and associated diseases can help make this plan for you. They combine advanced technology and commitment to patient care to improve your quality of life.

What are the types of movement disorders?

We specialize in accurately diagnosing and identifying the causes of some of the most common types of movement disorders, including:

  • Ataxia (loss of muscle coordination)
  • Chorea (involuntary muscle movements)
  • Dystonia (involuntary muscle contractions)
  • Huntington’s disease (inherited condition in which nerve cells in the brain deteriorate and lead to many physical and mental complications)
  • Myoclonus (involuntary muscle "jerks")
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Tardive dyskinesia (involuntary, jerking muscles, often in the face)
  • Tourette syndrome (involuntary, repeated movements and sounds)
  • Tremor or essential tremor (involuntary shaking or movements)

Essential tremor

Essential tremor, also called kinetic tremor, is the most common type of movement disorder. It causes an action tremor in the shoulder, arm, forearm, wrist or hand. It may affect the voice and it makes it difficult to write, drink from a cup or use the telephone. Tremors on the right side of the body are caused by overactive cells in the left brain and tremors on the left side of the body are caused by overactive cells in the right brain.

What causes movement disorders?

There is a complex interaction between the nervous system and muscles. Anything that disrupts these connections in key areas of the brain can interfere with a person’s movements.

Some of the common causes of movement-related issues include:

  • Damage to the brain, spinal cord or nerves
  • Genetics
  • Infections
  • Medications (side effects or prolonged use)
  • Metabolic issues
  • Stroke (cerebrovascular accident)
  • Vascular disease

How are movement disorders treated?

In some instances, your treatment may involve curing or resolving an underlying condition. In other cases, you may need:

  • Botulinum toxins (commonly known as Botox, a brand of this type of injectable medication) (may help with dystonia, tics, myoclonus and tremors)
  • Medication
  • Neuromodulation therapy
  • Neurosurgery or other advanced surgeries
  • Symptom and pain management

Deep brain stimulation (DBS)

DBS is a minimally invasive implantation of a device that delivers electrical stimulation to the part of the brain that helps control bodily movement.

The device is implanted in the brain and a battery device is placed under the chest wall. The device sends an electrical current to the brain. This alters or stops the messages being sent to the brain that result in the tremors, muscle spasms or other movement-related issues. The goal is to help relieve the symptoms of the neurological disorder being treated.

Who can benefit from DBS

Typically, DBS is reserved for patients who have movement-related symptoms that are disrupting their quality of life or have not received desirable results from other treatment options.

For the right candidate (based on the underlying cause of the movement disorder), DBS can be incredibly effective. The benefits can last for several years and significantly reduce slowness, stiffness and tremors. Furthermore, patients who have movement-related issues as a result of medications can receive up to 80 percent reduction in symptoms.

Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS)

SRS ("knifeless" surgery) delivers doses of pinpointed radiation to treat neurological diseases. Because this treatment technique is so precise, it minimizes risk to nearby sections of the brain that are functioning properly.

Non-invasive SRS treatments are completed in a matter of hours as outpatient procedures. Patients are usually discharged within 12 hours and can return to a preoperative lifestyle the next day.

SRS for essential tremor

SRS is used to treat brain tumors, trigeminal neuralgia, vascular malformations and neurological disorders, such as essential tremor. The treatment includes almost 200 beams of focused low-dose radiation. These beams destroy the overactive cells in the part of the thalamus that helps coordinate movement—the ventral intermediate nucleus (VIM). Most patients who receive SRS see a reduction in tremor within three to six months.