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What causes severe jerking movements in neck and head, and whole right arm including shoulders?

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Posted on Wed, 1 Aug 2018
Question: Can you please help me figure out why I have been having severe neck/head jerking movements, as well as with my whole arm/shoulder/s in my dominant hand, and what I can do to correct the issue?
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Answered by Dr. Olsi Taka (2 hours later)
Brief Answer:
Several possibilities, tests are needed.

Detailed Answer:
I read your question carefully and I understand your concern.

Judging from your description of the movements and the way they have spread I would say that those movements rather than a tremor would me more likely seizures. Seizures at this age do not generally come without a cause, there is some underlying brain lesion in many cases, like stroke or tumor. For that reason imaging tests such as MRI are necessary. In addition to that an EEG, a study of brain electrical activity is necessary to confirm whether there is indeed epileptiform activity.

Another possible nature of the movements would be chorea, a movement disorder which could also present with such localized spontaneous movements. Again in this case a cause has to be searched through brain imaging for brain lesions like stroke or tumors. So MRI remains absolutely necessary. I would also suggest given that mention of always having cold limbs some screening blood tests for connective tissue disorders like lupus, which may also be related to chorea (but perhaps such blood tests have already been done).

As for treatment that depends on the findings of the neurologist visit and the test results, since there are several possibilities can’t establish a definitive treatment. If movements are too disruptive and neurological consult takes too long perhaps clonazepam may be used till the appointment as it may help in reducing symptoms both in seizures as well as chorea.

I remain at your disposal for other questions.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Answered by
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Dr. Olsi Taka

Neurologist

Practicing since :2004

Answered : 3674 Questions

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What causes severe jerking movements in neck and head, and whole right arm including shoulders?

Brief Answer: Several possibilities, tests are needed. Detailed Answer: I read your question carefully and I understand your concern. Judging from your description of the movements and the way they have spread I would say that those movements rather than a tremor would me more likely seizures. Seizures at this age do not generally come without a cause, there is some underlying brain lesion in many cases, like stroke or tumor. For that reason imaging tests such as MRI are necessary. In addition to that an EEG, a study of brain electrical activity is necessary to confirm whether there is indeed epileptiform activity. Another possible nature of the movements would be chorea, a movement disorder which could also present with such localized spontaneous movements. Again in this case a cause has to be searched through brain imaging for brain lesions like stroke or tumors. So MRI remains absolutely necessary. I would also suggest given that mention of always having cold limbs some screening blood tests for connective tissue disorders like lupus, which may also be related to chorea (but perhaps such blood tests have already been done). As for treatment that depends on the findings of the neurologist visit and the test results, since there are several possibilities can’t establish a definitive treatment. If movements are too disruptive and neurological consult takes too long perhaps clonazepam may be used till the appointment as it may help in reducing symptoms both in seizures as well as chorea. I remain at your disposal for other questions.