Movement disorders: Helping you live your best life

When you’re referred to UW Health for a movement disorder like essential tremor, Parkinson’s disease or dystonia, you’ll get experienced doctors who understand your condition and your needs. We focus on your comfort, safety and ability to function.


Experienced in a variety of conditions

Through the most advanced treatments, education and personal support we help you better manage your condition. Often, small adjustments to your day-to-day living can help you have a fulfilling, happy life.

There are many types of movement disorders. They’re all different but can all be frightening. We work with people of all ages to support you in body and mind.

Conditions we treat

Ataxia is a disorder that affects your cerebellum, the part of your brain that helps coordinate movement. It may cause you to appear uncoordinated or clumsy.

Cerebellar degeneration refers to the death of nerve cells in the cerebellum.

Chorea causes an usual “wiggly” type of movement of your face, limbs and trunk.

Huntington’s disease is a genetic condition that causes the loss of certain brain cells. Along with chorea, it can lead to problems with balance, thinking, speech and behavior.

Dystonia is a condition that causes involuntary muscle contractions or spasms. Sometimes it affects just one area of the body, such as the head and neck or eyelids. Other times it causes problems in many parts of the body.

Essential tremor is the name for a movement disorder that causes shaking. It often affects your hands or head but may affect other parts of your body as well.

Functional movement disorders refer to a variety of involuntary abnormal movements.

Gait disorders refer to problems walking.

Myoclonus refers to rapid jerking or twitching of a muscle or muscles. It’s usually caused by sudden muscle contractions.

Parkinson’s disease is a brain disorder that results when certain nerve cells begin dying off. It causes symptoms such as slow movement, stiffness and tremor. It can cause many symptoms unrelated to movement as well. 

In atypical Parkinsonism, a person may have the classic symptoms of Parkinson’s disease along with symptoms not normally seen with the disease. Its cause is different.

Tics are sudden, uncontrolled movements or twitches that people do over and over again. Some people also have verbal tics, where they make repeated sounds.

People with Tourette’s syndrome have repeated movement and verbal tics.

Treatments and research

Helping you move forward

The treatment you’ll need depends on your condition. We treat all types of movement disorders, including extensive services for Parkinson’s disease and are a designated Huntington's Disease Center of Excellence.

We offer both common therapies and surgeries not available everywhere. Most movement disorders are not curable. But we’ll work to find the best treatments to control the physical, emotional or cognitive challenges your condition brings. Our goal is to help you have the best possible quality of life.


When we can, we turn to the simplest, least invasive treatments first. If more invasive treatments are your best option, our expertise puts you in good hands. We can help with:

Exercise helps with many movement disorders. It may improve your muscle strength and balance. It can also help make you more flexible.

Sometimes steps such as changing your diet are beneficial. Reducing caffeine and getting better sleep may help too.

There are many drugs that can help control symptoms.

These injections safely deliver botulinum toxin into your muscles. This can temporarily stop muscle spasms.

This treatment involves a device that we implant in your body. It’s like a pacemaker but sends signals to problematic areas of your brain. This reduces brain activity that causes movement problems.

Surgery changes the way problematic areas of your brain function. We do a number of different procedures.

Clinical trials

Clinical trials help us find new and improved ways to care for people. These trials are available to our patients. If you qualify, you may have access to promising treatments that you can’t find in other places.

Meet our team

A team that offers help and hope

Movement disorders affect your physical well-being and your mental health. Our team can address all your health needs. Neurologists will direct your overall care.

Neurosurgeons will be involved if surgery is part of your treatment. Neuropsychologists evaluate cognitive function from a diagnostic standpoint. Health Psychologists help with the emotional aspects of your condition. Others, such as physical, occupational, and speech therapists, social workers, genetic counselors and nutritionists, may also have roles in your care.


The care you need

We evaluate and treat movement disorders through our neurology clinic and dedicated movement disorder clinic in Madison.

Patient support and resources

Help yourself as we help you

Your care team will give you education and support. We offer seminars, support groups and online resources that may be helpful as well.


Due to COVID-19, we are unable to hold the Moving Forward series in person but are now offering a virtual opportunity. UW Health staff will be there to facilitate and answer questions in addition to the subject matter expert who will be presenting.


The upcoming meeting for the Moving Forward Seminar Series will be online via Webex.

Meeting dates

Meetings will be held on the second Monday of every month, 6:30-8pm.

View more information

Parkinson’s disease support groups

This is for people age 40 and younger. 

Madison – St. Mary’s Hospital, Room 1209, 700 S. Park St.

Meets quarterly, the first Thursday of the month, 6–7:15 p.m.

For more information: Call Jordan at (608) 345-7938. Email

Parkinson’s disease caregiver support groups

This group is for patients, family and friends. Sessions are split up between people with Parkinson’s and those who care for them. Experts speak on a new topic each month.

Asbury United Methodist Church, 6101 University Ave. 

Meets the third Wednesday of each month, 2:45–4 p.m. 

For more information: Call Jordan at (608) 345-7938. Email

Monona United Methodist Church, 606 Nichols Rd. 

Meets the first Wednesday of each month, 2–4 p.m. 

For more information: Call Jordan at (608) 345-7938. Email

Stoughton Area Senior Center, 248 W. Main St. 

Meets the fourth Wednesday of each month, 1:30–3 p.m. 

For more information: Call Jordan at (608) 345-7938. Email

Colonial Club Senior Center, Therapy Room, 301 Blankenheim Ln. 

Meets the fourth Wednesday of the month, 1–2 p.m. 

For more information: Call Jordan at (608) 345-7938. Email

Waunakee Senior Center, 333 S. Madison St. 

Meets the fourth Tuesday of the month at 2 p.m. 

If you plan to attend, please call the Waunakee Senior Center at (608) 849-8385 to register. 

For more information: Call Candice at (608) 850-5877

More resources

National Parkinson’s disease organizations

Life-changing care for brain and nervous system disorders

At UW Health, you will partner with doctors, dietitians, physical therapists, occupational therapists and other skilled health care providers to treat and manage symptoms of your condition.

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