What Is Akinesia? Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Tips

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AkinesiaThe possibility of total paralysis is difficult to imagine for many, and those suffering with akinesia live with that frightening thought every day.

Any decrease or loss of motor function can disrupt a person’s daily lifestyle and future plans.

We will take a closer look at this debilitating condition and uncover other health disorders that closely relate to its symptoms. We will also learn about the various treatment options.

What Is Akinesia?

The formal akinesia definition is the inability or decreased ability to move voluntarily, whether it is temporary or permanent. Muscle activity is impaired and as a result, the fibrous tissues become slow in movement or completely still.

It can affect one body part, a targeted region, one side, or the entire body. The symptoms mimic those associated with Parkinson’s disease. While bradykinesia in Parkinson’s disease is the slowness in execution of the movement, akinesia is characterized by the slowness, or inability, to initiate movement.

The condition is often seen with the use of antipsychotic drugs within weeks of starting the medication. It is often misdiagnosed; therefore, it can go untreated.

Akinesia Causes

To understand the causes behind akinesia, we have to look at various ailments, disorders, and diseases as there is no one cause to pinpoint. The effect on the motor function stems from an abnormal function of the nerves. In addition to other health conditions, akinesia may arise with the use of some medications and with injury, such as trauma to the basal ganglia of the brain. The following factors have been linked to akinesia.

  • Multiple system atrophy (once known as Shy-Drager Syndrome); a rare condition that attacks the body.
  • Medications such as antipsychotics used for schizophrenia, severe paranoia, and other similar conditions
  • Atherosclerosis, stroke, and other blood vessel conditions
  • Certain street drugs, in particular, synthetic heroin
  • History of heart problems (as the heart is deprived of sufficient oxygen, so are the muscles)
  • A forceful direct hit to the head by an auto vehicle accident or trauma

Akinesia Symptoms

The feeling of not being able to move, or having limited mobility, can be fleeting, but there may be other symptoms when experiencing akinesia.

  • Decrease in movement and reflexes
  • Slowness of movements
  • Voluntary movement difficulty
  • Uncontrolled movement of extremities
  • Apathy to where there is lack of concern for self and others
  • Lack of interest in enjoying life
  • Somber facial expressions
  • Monotone speech
  • Limited movement of eyelids
  • Exhaustion with repetitive tasks
  • Unable to perform simultaneous and consecutive tasks

Treatment for Akinesia

Akinesia treatment is dependent upon a medical diagnosis of the underlying cause of impairment. As far as the symptoms themselves, the same course of treatment for Parkinson’s disease is often followed to deal with akinesia.

The treatment may include physiotherapy for working on the loss of movement. Some of the problems stem from being sedentary or bedridden because of the condition.

Prescription drugs and procedures known to help improve akinesia symptoms include hyalase, levodopa, local anesthesia levobupivacaine, lidocaine, streptogramins, phacoemulsification, and deep brain stimulation. These will increase the levels of dopamine in the brain to stimulate lost movements.

Some cases may require surgery such as a thalamotomy or pallidotomy, or an electrical stimulation.

Akinesia is a motor disorder that is also classified as a symptom. It presents as the loss or decreased output of motor function. A person may have limited or no voluntary movement of the body, or the symptoms may be confined to a localized region. The lack of movement can affect one or both sides of the body and may lead to temporary or permanent paralysis. Most of the symptoms and recommended treatments mirror those of Parkinson’s disease.

“Akinesia – Symptoms, Causes, Treatment,” Bye Bye Doctor; http://byebyedoctor.com/akinesia/, last accessed June 7, 2017.
Sureka, “Akinesia,” Diseases Pictures, November 16, 2012; http://diseasespictures.com/akinesia/, last accessed June 7, 2017.
“Akinesia: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment,” ePain Assist; https://www.epainassist.com/movement-disorders/akinesia, last accessed June 7, 2017.