Movement disorders DDx


Movement disorders can be classified as hypokinesias and hyperkinesias.

  • First, determine whether or not an involuntary movement disorder is actually present (typically worse with anxiety and diminished during sleep).
  • Second, determine the nature of the involuntary movements (such as chorea, dystonia, myoclonus, and tremor) by assessing features such as rhythmicity, speed, duration, pattern, induction, complexity, and suppressibility.

Types of movement disorder


  • Akinesia/bradykinesia (Parkinsonism)
  • Catatonia
  • Psychomotor depression
  • Freezing phenomenon
  • Hypothyroid slowness
  • Stiff muscles
  • Hyperkinesia


  • Essential tremor
  • Tics, such as Tourette syndrome
  • Dystonia
  • Hemifacial spasm
  • Ataxia
  • Chorea
  • Others including akathisia, dyskinesia, hyperekplexia, jumpy stumps, moving toes, myokymia, myorhythmia, restless legs, and stereotypy

Features distinguishing movement disorders

Rhythmic movements

  • Tremor
  • Myoclonus
  • Dystonic tremor
  • Tardive dyskinesia
  • Moving toes and fingers

Sustained movements

  • Dystonia
  • Stiff-person syndrome

Intermittent movements

  • Tics
  • Paroxysmal dyskinesia

Speed of movements

  • Myoclonus (faster) → chorea → athetosis (slower)


  • Tics (suppressible) → chorea → dystonia → tremor (hard to suppress)

Complex movements

  • Tics (complex) → stereotypies → myoclonus → akathitic movements (simple)

CCC 700 6

Critical Care


Chris is an Intensivist and ECMO specialist at the Alfred ICU in Melbourne. He is also a Clinical Adjunct Associate Professor at Monash University. He is a co-founder of the Australia and New Zealand Clinician Educator Network (ANZCEN) and is the Lead for the ANZCEN Clinician Educator Incubator programme. He is on the Board of Directors for the Intensive Care Foundation and is a First Part Examiner for the College of Intensive Care Medicine. He is an internationally recognised Clinician Educator with a passion for helping clinicians learn and for improving the clinical performance of individuals and collectives.

After finishing his medical degree at the University of Auckland, he continued post-graduate training in New Zealand as well as Australia’s Northern Territory, Perth and Melbourne. He has completed fellowship training in both intensive care medicine and emergency medicine, as well as post-graduate training in biochemistry, clinical toxicology, clinical epidemiology, and health professional education.

He is actively involved in in using translational simulation to improve patient care and the design of processes and systems at Alfred Health. He coordinates the Alfred ICU’s education and simulation programmes and runs the unit’s education website, INTENSIVE.  He created the ‘Critically Ill Airway’ course and teaches on numerous courses around the world. He is one of the founders of the FOAM movement (Free Open-Access Medical education) and is co-creator of, the RAGE podcast, the Resuscitology course, and the SMACC conference.

His one great achievement is being the father of three amazing children.

On Twitter, he is @precordialthump.

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