Movement & Functional Conditions

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Houston Methodist offers comprehensive care and innovative, personalized treatment options for all types of movement and functional disorders.

Our team of board-certified neurologists at the Houston Methodist is dedicated to researching and managing all types of movement and functional disorders. We offer precise diagnosis and personalized treatments for both rare and common conditions, such as:


Diagnosing & Treating Movement & Functional Disorders

How are movement and functional disorders diagnosed? 

Movement and functional disorders refer to a wide range of neurological conditions characterized by uncontrollable or slow movements (bradykinesia). These conditions can also cause other complex symptoms, such as:


  • Behavioral changes  
  • Changes to the autonomic nervous system, which regulates blood pressure, heart rate and urination  
  • Cognitive issues (trouble thinking or reasoning)  
  • Masked face (loss of facial expressions)  
  • Tremor or shaking, often seen in hands  
  • Shuffling walk  
  • Stiff muscles  
  • Speech or voice changes


Early symptoms of movement disorders may appear between ages 35 and 50, progressing for the next several years. No single test can confirm a movement or functional disorder. Diagnosis relies on the experience and knowledge of trained neurologists who specialize in these complex conditions.  

Our experts start with a thorough examination and review of your personal and family medical history.  

We will discuss your symptoms and perform a neurological exam. From there, we may recommend specialized testing or imaging to identify or rule out underlying conditions. These may include:


  • Brain imaging (CT or MRI)  
  • Motor function tests  
  • Blood tests  
  • Psychiatric exam


At Houston Methodist, treatment plans are built around you. Our experts talk with you and your family to understand how your symptoms affect your life. From there, we will design a personalized treatment plan to help minimize your symptoms and improve your quality of life.

What treatments are available?

Houston Methodist offers the full range of treatment options for movement disorders. Depending on your diagnosis and symptoms, your personalized care plan may include a combination of treatments, such as:


  • Medication  
  • Physical or occupational therapy  
  • Speech therapy  
  • Massage or acupuncture  
  • Exercise such as tai chi, yoga, walking and light weight training to maintain strength, balance and flexibility  
  • Healthy, balanced diet with lean protein, whole grains, vegetables and fruits  


Patients with severe symptoms may need more advanced treatment, such as:


  • Botulinum toxin (Botox®) – These injections help to temporarily relax muscles and tissues. It is used for severe spasticity, muscle spasms, dystonia and other hyperkinetic disorders.  
  • Deep brain stimulation (DBS) – DBS system works much like a pacemaker in the heart. It disrupts abnormal electrical currents in the brain that cause uncontrollable movements like tremor. A neurosurgeon implants a tiny electrode in a specific area of your brain. The electrode receives mild electrical stimulation through a fine wire connected to a stimulator in your chest. This procedure is primarily used to treat Parkinson’s disease, tremor and dystonia.  
  • Intrathecal baclofen pump therapy – Baclofen is a medication to treat spasticity (tight, stiff muscles). The medication is delivered through a small pump that is surgically placed below the skin.  

What if I need advanced care or a second opinion?

We understand that movement disorder symptoms can take a toll on your quality of life. Our board-certified movement disorder experts have decades of experience and training to help you get clear answers and comprehensive support.

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