Akinesia is the medical term for your inability to move your muscles willingly. It is not a disease, but a symptom of a serious disease. You lose the ability to move your muscles when affected by Parkinson’s disease (PD). But, akinesia (akinetic-rigid syndrome) can also occur as a sign for other diseases. Therefore, pay close attention to your body. If you experience it, seek medical help. Read ahead to know more about the problem in detail.
What is Akinesia?
It is a neurological condition resulting in the inability to move one or more areas of your body. You may freeze while thinking to move the body part. The main issue leading to akinesia is neurological disorders (like PD). Subsequently, the disease can make the nerve cells in your brain known as neuron to weaken or die. The neurons are responsible for sending signals to your body to move. Therefore, the weakening or dying results in the inability of the neurons to send signals to your muscles as well as nerves. It results in your losing control of the ability to control the muscle movements. Akinetic-rigid syndrome can make you lose the muscle movements in the following:
Your helplessness to move the muscles you use every day can restrict your mobility. So, it causes severe discomfort for you. It can result in mental issues like depression, stress, and anxiety.
Is Akinesia Curable?
Since the akinetic-rigid syndrome is mostly associated with Parkinson’s disease, you may wonder if it is easy to cure. Unfortunately, akinesia is a progressive condition that is incurable. The conditions that trigger akinesia are mostly neurological conditions that have no cure till date. But, some health issues causing the problem have cured. You can relieve the signs of the akinetic-rigid syndrome with medical help completely for the following:
Hypothyroidism can cause imbalance in the hormone levels in your body. When you do not seek treatment for the issue, it can worsen. The severe case of hypothyroidism can result in Parkinson’s-like symptoms. The reversible type of akinetic-rigid syndrome becomes better with proper medical care.
Side Effects Of Medications
The side-effects of certain medication can lead to akinesia. The issue is referred to as drug-induced parkinsonism. The medication block the dopamine action in the brain. So, the loss of neurotransmitter in your brain results in symptoms of PD. The medications causing the issue are:
- Antipsychotic drugs (also known as neuroleptic drugs) used in the treatment of psychiatric problems like schizophrenia.
- Medications like prochlorperazine used in the treatment of nausea and dizziness.
- Metoclopramide medications (Plasil, Maxolon) involved in the treatment of indigestion and nausea.
The symptoms remain the same with the drug-induced parkinsonism. But, in rare cases, the symptoms may progress like the PD. You need to mention the issue to our doctor. The doctor can change the dose or the medication. So, with the stopping of the medication, you can recover within hours, days, or months.
Other problems leading to akinetic-rigid syndrome have no permanent cure. But, treatments can slow the progression of the condition. Just like taking medication slows the deterioration of Parkinson’s disease, proper medical care can limit the problem. So, you can control the effects of the problem in your daily life.
While discussing the problem, you also need to know about fetal akinesia. As the name suggests, it affects the child in the womb. In such cases, the fetus does not move like normal cases. It is a genetic condition. The problem can restrict the fetal growth inside the uterus (intrauterine growth restriction). Therefore, it results in developmental issues like:
- Arthrogryposis (multiple joint contractures)
- Facial Anomalies
- Underdeveloped Lungs (Pulmonary hypoplasia)
The issue also known as Fetal Akinesia Deformation Sequence (FADS) can also cause other developmental abnormalities. Stillbirth is possible with the condition. While others have a short lifespan.
Akinesia Vs Dyskinesia
Both the terms sound similar. Sometimes you may even get confused with the diseases. But, they differ from each other. While dyskinesia causes involuntary movements, akinesia makes movement impossible. When a patient suffers from dyskinesia, the muscle twitch without their knowledge. The muscles move constantly and unexpectedly. So, they lose their ability to control or stop the movement.
Akinesia makes people unable to direct their muscles to move. In some cases, the entire muscle freezes. But, the muscles do not lose their ability. Your body’s extrapyramidal system associated with the movement has some problem leading to the twitching. One thing is common among both diseases. The akinesia and dyskinesia happen in the condition like Parkinson’s disease.
Causes Of Akinesia
When you try to understand a disease, you need to know the main causes leading to it. Akinesia is caused due to the underlying health conditions. Therefore, it happens with diseases that can affect the area of the brain that controls your movements. Some of the major causes of the disease are:
It is the most common cause associated with the akinetic-rigid syndrome. When a person suffers from Parkinson’s disease, it produces low levels of dopamine. Dopamine is the neurotransmitter than generates signals to control the muscles. So, the low levels of dopamine affect the person’s ability to move their muscles.
Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP)
It is a brain-damaging condition. The condition affects a person gradually over time. So, it can result in problems with walking. People may lose their balance resulting in restriction of mobility.
Side Effects Of Medication
Some medication can cause side effects like the Parkinson’s symptoms. It is due to the restriction of dopamine levels. So, the medications can lower the levels leading to akinesia.
Severely low levels of thyroxine hormones or thyroid hormone can result in akinesia. The condition known as hypothyroidism can result in akinesia.
Not all people affected with Parkinson’s disease get affected by akinesia. Compared to women, men have more chances to have akinesia. Another interesting fact is people with resting tremor as the main symptom have fewer chances of getting akinesia compared to others.
Fetal Akinesia Causes
Grownup people can get akinesia for a various number of causes, but what about fetal akinesia? Fetal Akinesia Deformation Sequence can occur due to reasons like:
Abnormalities in the development of the fetal nervous system
- The occurrence of chondrodysplasias leading to the connective tissue disorders
- Fetal Edema
- History of maternal illness
- Use of recreational drugs by the mother
Other issues like the alterations or changes leading to insufficient blood flow in the womb can also cause fetal akinesia. The loss of oxygen to the developing fetus can cause FADS.
Genetic Causes Of Akinesia
Some people suffer from akinesia due to genetic issues. Extensive researches have allowed the doctor to isolate the gene mutation associated with the problem. People with the two gene mutation are at higher risk of getting affected by the problem. If you have members in the family or babies with the condition, you need to consult a genetic specialist. So, you can get tested for the following mutations:
It will reveal the presence of the gene mutations in your body. If you have it, then the risk of getting akinesia is high. So, get tested to eliminate the doubts and have peace of mind.
Risk Factors Associated With Akinesia
When you observe carefully, you can find that not all people have the risk of risk getting affected by akinesia. Some people are more prone to it compared to others. So, who are at high risk? The following people have a high probability of the issue:
- People with a history of slowed muscle movements known as bradykinesia.
- Patients who suffer from Parkinson’s disease for a long period of time.
- Individuals experiencing postural instability.
- People facing problems like muscle rigidity.
Symptoms Of Akinesia
To get the doctor’s help, you need to check for the symptoms associated with akinesia. With the detection of the symptoms, you can get the desired medical help. One of the recognizable sign of the issue is the freezing of one or more muscle. It can result in stiffness in your muscles. It can happen anywhere on your body. With the freezing of the facial muscles, your face looks frozen with a single expression. While the freezing of the leg muscles can make your movements rigid. So, it is known as gait freezing. You can distinguish akinesia due to the Parkinson’s disease with the other symptoms like:
Shaking of the muscles in the fingers and hands. You can experience the tremors even when you rest or get distracted.
You can experience slowed speech or softening of the voice due to Parkinson’s disorder.
Another issue that crops along with akinesia with the PD are the inability to maintain a posture. Therefore, you may find it difficult to stand up straight or other postures.
Difficulty Completing A Task
Your movements slow down. Hence, you take a long time to complete the physical tasks. Most likely you can also suffer from bradykinesia.
The other neurological condition like PSP (progressive supranuclear palsy) can affect your walking as well as balance. So, the symptoms that appear along with akinesia with PSP (mainly in the face region) includes:
- Unable to keep eye contact for a long time
- Losing vision/blurred vision
- Problems with quick eye movements
- Issues with looking up or down with ease
- Trouble swallowing food or drinks
- Mental problems like depression or mood swings
Treatment Of Akinesia
The treatment option for the condition involves both medications as well as physical therapy. Read ahead to know more about the treatment plan adopted by your doctor.
Management Of Akinesia With Medical Techniques
Your doctor may adopt the following techniques to relieve the issue of akinesia from affecting your daily life. So, the doctor can use the right plan depending on the severity of the problem:
The common treatment your doctor may adopt is the mix of levodopa and carbidopa. Akinesia can occur with Parkinson’s disease due to a lack of dopamine. Usually, your brain produces the dopamine. It is passed into your body by the neurons. The low levels of dopamine can cause an inability to move your muscles. So, your doctor prescribes the medicine combination. It has the following features:
It is the central nervous system agent that triggers dopamine production. The medication can influence the brain to enhance dopamine production. So, it can relieve muscle stiffness due to akinesia. The medication can also relieve the tremors and tics associated with Parkinson’s disease.
It can reduce the side-effects of levodopa. Therefore, it can diminish the adverse effects like nausea.
But, the combination of levodopa and carbidopa can have severe side-effects. Therefore, you need to talk to your doctor before starting the medication. It will help you get a gist about the problems you can face by taking the medication.
It is another medication option that can stop dopamine reduction due to body enzymes. The medication also increases dopamine production to combat the issue. So, it can also slow the progression of Parkinson’s disease.
Your doctor can also prescribe medications for depression and other symptoms associated with Parkinson’s disease. Therefore, you need to take anti-depressants and botulinum injection (involuntary eyelid closing known as blepharospasm).
The medication can wear off or it may not have the desired effects on the symptoms. In such cases, your doctor can suggest another option. The surgical implantation of the electrodes can perform better than the medications. So, the electrodes stimulate the movement centers in your brain. Mostly, the option is ideal for advanced cases. The method also known as deep brain stimulation can offer better results. So, it is a widely used technique in Parkinson’s disease.
The method has advantages and limitations. So, you need to talk to your doctor to know more about the treatment.
The pain and stiffness associated with akinesia can lead to discomfort. So, you can take over-the-counter medications. The nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can reduce the pain and other issues. Therefore, you can take acetaminophen and ibuprofen to reduce the pain.
Alternative Therapies To Treat Akinesia
Apart from the medications, you can also reduce the pain and discomfort associated with the akinesia with the alternative therapies. Therefore, you can include the following to improve the quality of your life:
You need to get the help of a physical therapist to develop an exercise plan to improve the motor function. The physical activity can also reduce the pain and discomfort associated with akinesia. The exercise can keep you safe and comfortable. It also slows the progression of the issue. So, include it in your life without overexertion. Include the following stretching exercise apart from the ones your physical therapist suggests like:
- Tai Chi
The exercise can slow the progression of the akinesia. Therefore, give importance to physical therapies.
Include food rich in fiber and drink a lot of water. It can reduce the symptoms to a great extent.
Relaxing the muscles relieve the symptoms of akinesia to a great extent. So, you can include the following:
Activities offering relaxation (listening to music, painting or reading)
Therefore, you can slow the effects of akinesia and regain control over your muscle functions.
Complications Due To Akinesia
Getting treatment for akinesia is important. Ignoring it can increase the individual’s chances of falling down. It can lead to the breaking of bones or other injuries that causes immense pain and discomfort. So, if your loved ones show signs of the issue, take an appointment with your doctor. Reversible akinesia is easy to treat. By sorting the underlying condition responsible, you can avoid the issue.
But, people having akinesia due to Parkinson’s disease or other neurological problem cannot find a permanent solution for the issue. No medication is available till date to completely cure the disorder. So, you need to learn to work past the akinesia. Seeing a physical therapist can aid in learning the techniques to overcome the freezing episodes. Therefore, it will help in finding a safe way to continue the movement as much as possible.
Fetal akinesia also has no cure. Only supportive care is available to reduce the discomfort. For babies with immature lungs can get the support for breathing to ease the complications to an extent.
Unfortunately, akinesia is caused by an incurable condition in the majority of the cases. But, you can access medical help to improve the quality of life. The different medications, physical therapies, and lifestyle changes can ensure mobility. So, you complete your daily tasks and keep yourself active.
With the new researches and the emergence of sophisticated technologies in the medical field, doctors and scientists can closely understand the problem. So, the chances of finding better techniques to manage the disease or a cure itself are within the reach. But, right now, you need to consult your doctor and follow the steps available to ensure a good life with less hindrance from the disease.
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