Motor Symptoms in Parkinson's

While symptoms vary from person to person and change with each year, sometimes each week, all diagnosed cases contain two of the following four motor symptoms. 

Four Main Motor Symptoms Affected Are:

Bradykinesia, or slowness of movement. Simple every day tasks can be affected by this symptom. You may find it more difficult to button a shirt or zipper a jacket. Initiating speech or even getting out of bed can seem to be an insurmoutable challenge.

Involuntary shaking, or tremor at rest. Typically, tremor occurs in the hands, but it can also appear in other parts of the body, including the lower lip, jaw or leg. This symptom usually improves when a person starts performing/concentrating on tasks or using the limb in some way.

Stiffness of the arms, legs or trunk. Muscles feel unusually tight, stiff or achy. This symptom can occur on one side or both sides of the body and usually does not go away with movement. Others may notice stiff movements before you do.

Postural Instability- Difficulty with balance and falling. If you experience postural instability you will have problems walking, balancing and turning around. Falls can occur without explanation. Postural instability is one of the most common and troublesome symptoms that occurs in late Parkinson's and is not necessarily present at time of diagnosis.

Other, lesser known symptoms of Parkinson’s include:

  • Micrographia: small, cramped handwriting, changes in the way the words on the page are written.
  • Reduced arm swing on one or both sides.
  • Slight foot drag on one or both sides, resulting in an appearane of shuffling.
  • Freezing — or being stuck in place when attempting to walk. Some describe this as feeling as though they are glued to the floor. 
  • Mask of Parkinson's: Inability to control facial expression due to rigidity of facial muscles, called hypomimia.
  • Change in Voice: Speaking softly or at a low volume, muffled speech, or a hoarseness to the voice. 
  • Tendency to fall backwards.
  • Decreased ability in automatic reflexes such as blinking and swallowing.


Dyskinesias are involuntary, erratic writhing movements of the face, arms, legs, and trunk.  This is not a sign of having Parkinson's disease but rather a result of Levodopa therapy. Other drugs such as dopamine agonists, COMT inhibitors, and MAO-B inhibitors can worsen dyskinesias. These involuntary movements usually occur one to two hours after a dose of levodopa has been absorbed into the bloodstream and is at its peak levels in the brain. Dyskinesias usually begin after a few years of treatment with levodopa.