Movement Disorders in Multiple Sclerosis: An Update

Tremor Other Hyperkinet Mov (N Y). 2022 May 4:12:14. doi: 10.5334/tohm.671. eCollection 2022.


Background: Multiple sclerosis (MS), a subset of chronic primary inflammatory demyelinating disorders of the central nervous system, is closely associated with various movement disorders. These disorders may be due to MS pathophysiology or be coincidental. This review describes the full spectrum of movement disorders in MS with their possible mechanistic pathways and therapeutic modalities.

Methods: The authors conducted a narrative literature review by searching for 'multiple sclerosis' and the specific movement disorder on PubMed until October 2021. Relevant articles were screened, selected, and included in the review according to groups of movement disorders.

Results: The most prevalent movement disorders described in MS include restless leg syndrome, tremor, ataxia, parkinsonism, paroxysmal dyskinesias, chorea and ballism, facial myokymia, including hemifacial spasm and spastic paretic hemifacial contracture, tics, and tourettism. The anatomical basis of some of these disorders is poorly understood; however, the link between them and MS is supported by clinical and neuroimaging evidence. Treatment options are disorder-specific and often multidisciplinary, including pharmacological, surgical, and physical therapies.

Discussion: Movements disorders in MS involve multiple pathophysiological processes and anatomical pathways. Since these disorders can be the presenting symptoms, they may aid in early diagnosis and managing the patient, including monitoring disease progression. Treatment of these disorders is a challenge. Further work needs to be done to understand the prevalence and the pathophysiological mechanisms responsible for movement disorders in MS.

Keywords: ataxia; chorea/ballism; dystonia; movement disorders; multiple sclerosis; myoclonus; parkinsonism; restless leg syndrome; tics; tremor.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Chorea* / complications
  • Dyskinesias*
  • Humans
  • Movement Disorders* / complications
  • Movement Disorders* / therapy
  • Multiple Sclerosis* / complications
  • Multiple Sclerosis* / diagnostic imaging
  • Multiple Sclerosis* / epidemiology
  • Tremor / complications
  • Tremor / therapy