What is Akinesia?

Akinesia is a disease which makes muscles inflexible, and the patient feels frozen permanently or temporarily. It slows down the movement or makes the patient entirely still. It is often confused with Parkinson’s disease due to the similarity of the symptoms. Bradykinesia (Parkinson’s disease) is the slow movement of the body, while Akinesia is inability, slowness or inflexibility of the body muscles.

There is no age bar as a baby in a womb to extreme old people can experience this disease. Most conditions causing this disease are successive which makes it incurable, but some of them are treatable. The disease is often misdiagnosed, and it is mostly seen developing with the use of antipsychotic drugs.

Fetal Akinesia

Fetal akinesia is a chronic condition when the disease occurs in a fetus in the womb. As a result, they stop moving as expected and eventually it becomes a hindrance to the growth. The baby might be born with abnormal features, and this condition is known as Fetal Akinesia Deformation Sequence (FADS). These are likely to result from genes.

Difference between Akinesia & Dyskinesia

Dyskinesia and Akinesia are two different problems but often confused with each other due to the similarity in their names. In Dyskinesia, muscles from any body part move involuntarily, while in Akinesia, muscles become stiff or freeze making them hard to move without losing their abilities. It is the movement centers or the extrapyramidal system that is disabled. In Dyskinesia, muscles move continuously with the patient’s inability to stop or control. It is commonly seen in PD conditions.

Akinesia Causes

  • Medication: Due to the intake of too many medicines that prevents dopamine.
  • Parkinson’s disease: Results in lower amounts of dopamine production in the brain affecting the moving ability of the person.
  • Hormone Level: Severe low levels of thyroid hormone results in Akinesia.
  • Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP): A slow damage condition of the brain that affects body balance.
  • Shy-Drager Syndrome: An Infrequent degenerating condition that generates various symptoms similar to PD and amongst them one trait is Akinesia.

Men who have the Parkinson’s disease are more prone to suffer from Akinesia compared to women. People who have resting tremor symptom of Parkinson’s disease do not suffer or are less likely to suffer from Akinesia.

Akinesia Symptoms

Most common and recognizable symptom is freezing. It makes the muscle groups stiff in one or multiple parts of the body. It can make a face frozen in a single expression. It can also happen due to (PSP) progressive supranuclear which affects walking. Other symptoms include:

  • Slow speech & voice softening
  • Tremors (muscle shaking in fingers & hands while resting)
  • Slow movement
  • Increased duration to finish one physical task
  • Unable to stand straight

A PSP symptom that appears with Akinesia includes: 

  • Immovability of eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Vision loss
  • Problem in Swallowing
  • Mood swing and depression symptoms
  • Problem in maintaining eye contact for longer duration
  • Taking longer time to look up and down

Akinesia Risk Factors

  • Postural Instability
  • Muscle rigidity problems
  • Slow muscle movement (bradykinesia)
  • Suffering from Parkinson’s disease for a longer duration
  • Muscle rigidity
  • Nervous system problems Connective tissue disorder

Akinesia Treatment

Treatment entirely depends upon the cause of the disease. However, it might include physiotherapy for movement on motion loss. Prescription drugs and methods which are familiar to improve symptoms are levodopa, lidocaine, local anesthesia levobupivacaine, hyalase, phacoemulsification, streptogramins, and brain stimulation. These help to increase the dopamine levels in the brain to energize slow movements.  Some cases need surgery like pallidotomy or thalamotomy or electrical stimulation. Other treatments include:

Parkinson’s related

Akinesia related to Parkinson’s disease is complicated and very hard to treat. Experts prescribe medicines that increase the dopamine levels or its activity. It helps as the low dopamine levels results in neuromuscular symptoms related with Parkinson’s disease. Some dopamine regulating medicines are carbidopa, levodopa etc.


Akinesia can also be a result of taking some medicines. In such cases, the symptoms can be stopped by eliminating those medicines which are causing a problem. Before taking carbidopa and levodopa, consult a doctor as it can result in some serious side effects. MAO – B inhibitors also prevent dopamine to degrade from the body completely. It helps to increase the dopamine levels and decrease PD symptoms.

Generally, medications are not that effective in curing akinesia which is an outcome of PSP. However, antidepressants can help to offer relief from depressive symptoms.

Physical Therapy 

Physical therapies are beneficial to heal different type of diseases, and there are various therapies specially formulated for the patients of akinesia and Parkinson’s disease. In a research, it was seen that patients who used a complete procedure of a treadmill had shown regulation in the activity of the muscles and minimal freezing episodes.

Other Diseases Allied with Akinesia

  • Multiple pterygium syndromes: It occurs due to the gene transformation (CHRNG). The episodes of skin webbing often are common around joints (pterygium) coupled with reduced movement (Akinesia).
  • Huntington’s disease: It involves decaying of the nerve cells which are sometimes hereditary or genetic. People with Huntington’s disease are more prone to get Akinesia in their older age. These people do move at all or move very little and appear rigid most of the time.
  • Corticobasal degeneration: It is a neurological disturbance that is successive and affects most of the parts of the brain including the cerebral cortex and basal ganglia. It also incorporates Akinesia with impaired balance, equilibrium disturbance, limb dystonia, inability to move purposefully or Apraxia, swallowing difficulty or Dysphagia and muscle stiffness are the most common symptoms.

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