Movement Disorders Specialist

Houston Specialty Clinic

Pediatric Neurology, Pediatric Pulmonary, and Sleep Medicine located in Houston, and Sugar Land, TX

Movement disorders cause involuntary spasms and tics and affect how well your child can move. At the Houston and Sugar Land, Texas, offices of Houston Specialty Clinic, board-certified pediatric neurologist Joshua Rotenberg, MD, specializes in helping children who have movement disorders like spasticity, chorea, and Tourette syndrome. If you think your child has a movement disorder, call the Houston Specialty Clinic closest to you today.

Movement Disorders Q & A

What are movement disorders?

Movement disorders are conditions that cause your child to move too little or too much, or they might have coordination problems. Symptoms of movement disorders include:

  • Myoclonus: Jerking of the neck or body
  • Ataxia: Problems with balance and coordination
  • Chorea: Uncontrolled jerky movements
  • Dystonia: Abnormal twisting postures
  • Tremor: Rhythmic backward and forward motions of one or more parts of the body

Your child might also make repetitive movements or perform repeated actions, such as:

  • Eye blinking
  • Facial movements
  • Sniffing
  • Coughing
  • Throat clearing
  • Squeaks
  • Squeals

These are known as motor tics. Repeated words or speech are known as vocal tics.

Movement disorders can arise from a range of issues, including brain injuries, genetic or metabolic conditions, medications, inflammatory or autoimmune conditions, and prior infections.

How are movement disorders diagnosed?

Dr. Rotenberg first meets with you and your child to get to know you and assess your child’s movement disorder symptoms. He also reviews your child’s medical history. Your child might need to undergo some diagnostic tests as well.

An MRI or other advanced neuro-imaging scans of your child’s brain and spinal cord can show neurological causes for a movement disorder. An electroencephalogram (EEG) gives Dr. Rotenberg information about the electrical activity in your child’s brain, while some children might need to undergo cardiac evaluation.

Gait and movement analysis forms a crucial part in diagnosing many movement disorders. Your child’s eyes and hearing could need checking, and they might need to provide a blood sample. Psychological or psychiatric assessment can be helpful in many cases as well.

What movement disorders might affect my child?

Numerous movement disorders can affect children. Some of the disorders Dr. Rotenberg sees most often include:


Spasticity causes stiffness or tightness due to excessive muscle contractions. It can affect your child’s movement, how well they walk, and their speech. Spasticity is usually a consequence of damage to the part of your child’s brain or spinal cord that’s responsible for voluntary movement. Spasticity is seen in conditions like cerebral palsy.

Tourette syndrome

Tourette syndrome is a neurological disorder that causes your child to make uncontrollable vocal sounds and repeated involuntary movements called tics. Tourette syndrome tics are fast and occur frequently. Verbal tics (vocalizations) could include shouting, grunting, throat clearing, and barking.

Verbal tics can also involve your child using inappropriate language, such as shouting out obscene words, which is known as coprolalia. Copropraxia is the use of obscene gestures.

Treatments for movement disorders might include medication, chemodenervation with botulinum toxins (e.g Botox, Dysport ) physical therapies, and sometimes surgery, depending on the type of disorder and its severity.

If your child is displaying symptoms of a movement disorder, call Houston Specialty Clinic today.

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