Bradykinesia means slowing of movement and is one of the most important symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Shivering and muscle stiffness may contribute to bradykinesia but do not fully explain it. You can find more information below.

What is bradykinesia?

Bradykinesia is a medical term used to describe abnormal slowness of movement. Along with the tremors and muscle stiffness seen in Parkinson’s disease , it is one of the three characteristic symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. This slowness of movement is most evident when Parkinson’s patients begin or do activities that require several consecutive steps. These can include all kinds of activities of daily living, such as getting dressed, making sandwiches, or unlocking.

Tasks that require fine motor control (such as wearing a shirt or using utensils) are slow, especially for people with Parkinson’s-induced bradykinesia; reaction times are also slower. This can also cause people with Parkinson’s to take slow, short steps and have erratic strides. Slowing of verbal skills can lead to soft speech and make it difficult for others to grasp what you are saying.

Bradykinesia tends to occur in the later stages of Parkinson’s disease. According to a 2016 review, tremors are more likely to define in the 20s-40s, while bradykinesia and muscle stiffness are most likely seen after age 60.

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What causes bradykinesia?

This is usually due to certain medications (eg antipsychotics) or Parkinson’s disease. However, the specific cause is still unknown. One study concluded that bradykinesia may be due to failure of basal ganglia outflow. Another study looked at the role of dopamine in affected people. Both studies gave convincing evidence to support their findings, but more research is needed before determining a definitive cause.

What are the symptoms of bradykinesia?

When Parkinson’s-induced bradykinesia occurs, it may feel as if the body is at least not following the brain’s commands as it used to. The arms and legs are weaker or the limbs may feel sore when performing tasks that involve repetitive movements such as walking. In some people with advanced Parkinson’s disease, the patient has a feeling of being stuck to the ground simply because they cannot move their feet.

The patient may also have trouble writing or notice that their handwriting has become smaller and slanted to the right. This is a symptom called micrographia and tends to occur with bradykinesia. About 50 to 60% of people with Parkinson’s disease have some micrography. Bradykinesia can cause loss of facial expression ( hypomimia ), blinking due to decreased spontaneous swallowing, monotonous speech, and decreased drooling.

Emotional state can also affect bradykinesia, but often in a beneficial way. For example, even if movements are impaired by Parkinson’s disease, a phenomenon called kinesia paradoxica makes a person react quickly in case of fear or panic. We can say that Parkinson’s disease facilitates the “fight or flight” response, but does not completely destroy the neurological pathways.

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How is bradykinesia diagnosed?

When doctors try to diagnose this condition, they will ask the affected person to make quick, repetitive or alternating movements of the hand (such as moving the palm up and down, making finger taps, and holding objects). People with bradykinesia are often unable to do these actions quickly. The slowness of movement may be manifested by strange gestures or speech, and may even affect how often the patient can blink their eyes.

Sometimes bradykinesia is mild, especially in the early stages of the disease. To detect this, doctors will look to see if the patient hesitates before starting to move and reduces their arm movements while walking. These are some of the early early signs.

How is bradykinesia treated?

Parkinson’s and its symptoms cannot be cured. However, the symptoms can be somewhat managed with medications. The most helpful drugs for Parkinson’s slowness of movement are those that increase dopamine levels. Some medications that use or act like dopamine to achieve the same reaction include:

  • Carbidopa / Levodopa
  • dopamine agonists
  • MAO-B inhibitors

There are other medications the doctor can try until they find the right one for the patient. However, finding the right drug will be a constant challenge, as such drugs become less effective over time. The doctor will monitor the patient to adjust the dose or change medications as needed.


There is also a surgical procedure known as deep brain stimulation that may be used for some people living with Parkinson’s. This treatment involves surgically placing electrodes at specific locations in the brain. After the electrodes are placed, there will be electrical impulses sent to stimulate the brain at the electrode sites. This treatment is normally used for people with severe Parkinson’s who do not respond well to conventional medications.

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lifestyle remedies for symptom management

Whether the patient is taking medication or not, there are lifestyle changes and steps he can add at home as part of his treatment plan. However, a patient should always talk to their doctor before adding anything to their Parkinson’s treatment plan. Anything that helps treat Parkinson’s disease will also help with bradykinesia.

Some of the lifestyle or home treatments include:

  • Healthy eating
  • Eating a diet high in fiber
  • doing physical therapy with exercises that increase strength, balance, and flexibility
  • Walk
  • Swimming
  • Taking steps to avoid falling

As a result

No cure has yet been found for the symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease and bradykinesia. However, there are medications, treatments, and lifestyle changes to help manage the disease. The patient should talk to his doctor regularly and report any changes that he or those around him notice. He should always keep his doctor up to date on the effectiveness of current medications.

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