What is a movement disorder?

A movement disorder can refer to a neurological condition which impacts the nervous system by causing abnormal movements, either voluntary or involuntary. Common movement disorders are:

Parkinson’s disease

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive disorder caused by the death of nerve cells in the part of the brain that controls movement. It causes tremor, stiffness, decreased movement and problems with balance. 


Dystonia is a muscle disorder which is defined by involuntary, sustained muscle spasms – uncontrollable twisting, repetitive movements or abnormal positions. These spasms may impact the entire body (general dystonia) or be localised to one part (focal dystonia).

Essential tremor

Essential tremor is uncontrolled shaking usually seen in the hands or arms but can impact other parts of the body. This shaking worsens with even the simplest of movements of the affected limb.

Tourette syndrome

Tourette syndrome is a hereditary neurological disorder which can occur in the early stages of childhood. The condition is most prominently known for repeated, sudden and involuntary movements and uncontrolled vocal sounds called tics.

Movement disorder research at QBI

Several researchers and labs at, or affiliated with, QBI study movement disorders and innovative treatments for people living with these disorders. For more information, please see the following researcher profiles or visit the Asia-Pacific Centre for Neuromodulation page.