Difference between Akinesia and Dyskinesia

Akinesia is a condition in which a person loses the ability to move their muscles on their own. They might feel like of their body has frozen. This disease can occur at any age and is sometime referred to as freezing. Akinesia is a common symptom of later stages in Parkinson’s disease (PD). In this condition, one or more areas of our body cannot move due to neurological condition like PD. Such conditions weaken and eventually destroy the nerve cells of our brain’s movement centre. The neurons are no longer able to send signals to the nerves and muscles. This causes the loss of ability to control muscles. These muscles are commonly of face, hands, and legs.

Akinesia and most of its causes are progressive in nature. Majority of its causes are incurable. One such cause hypothyroidism can lead to reversible akinetic syndrome. Some symptoms of akinesia are- difficulty in walking, muscle rigidity (usually in legs and necks), and inability to move the feet properly.

Doctors refer the symptoms of akinesia using the acronym TRAP which stands as −

  • T - Tremor at rest

  • R - Rigidity

  • A - Akinesia

  • P - Postural instability

An instance of akinesia is pure akinesia in which a person does not experience any sign of PD. Feta akinesia deformation sequence, FADS, is a type of akinesia that causes a combination of abnormalities when a baby is developing in womb. Some of the symptoms of FADS are joint contractures, facial anomalies, underdeveloped lungs, and intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR).

Some of the causes of akinesia include −

  • Parkinson’s disease − It reduces dopamine, impacting the ability to control muscles.

  • Medication-induced Parkinson’s-like symptoms − Too much of medication inhibits the production of dopamine.

  • Progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) − Brain-damaging condition affecting balance while walking.

  • Hormone levels − Hypothyroidism and extremely low levels of thyroid hormone

Its treatment depends on the cause of akinesia. Medication-related akinesia can be treated by stopping the intake of medicines causing the condition. Parkinson’srelated akinesia is more complicated. Often, medications are prescribed that increase the production of dopamine or the activity it causes. Examples of these medicines include levodopa, carbidopa, MAO-B, and dopamine agonists.

Dyskinesia is a condition in which the body moves involuntarily. This can happen with one or more parts of the body, and is more common in people suffering from Parkinson’s disease and is also a side effect of long-term levodopa treatment. The two major type of dyskinesia are

  • Levodopa-induced dyskinesia (LID) − Occurs during or after levodopa treatment.

  • Tardive dyskinesia − Caused by taking antipsychotic medicines.

Some common symptoms of dyskinesia include fidgeting, wriggling, swaying of body, twitching, restlessness, and bobbing of the body. If the cause dyskinesia is some medication, the first treatment involves stopping the usage of that medication or changing the dosage. Tardive dyskinesia can be treated through medications such as tetrabenazine, deutetrabenazine or valbenazine. Injections of botulinum toxin (Botox) can help limit involuntary movements, particularly those impacting the face. Deep brain simulation is the most effective method to treat genetic or idiopathic dyskinesia.

Similarities between akinesia and dyskinesia

Both are disease symptoms and involve difficulties in muscle movement. Both conditions can be treated through medication adjustments, deep brain stimulation and physical therapy. A common cause of akinesia and dyskinesia is the Parkinson’s disease. Both the conditions can occur at any stage of life.

Difference between Akinesia and Dyskinesia

The following table highlights the major differences between Akinesia and Dynkinesia −





Inability to move muscles voluntarily.

This condition is characterized by involuntary writhing and erratic movements. These movements may be fluid, slow, rapid or extended spasms


The term comes from Greek words- a (meaning without) and kinesis (meaning motion).

The term comes from the Greek words- dys (abnormal) and kinesis (meaning motion).


This condition does not have any specified types.

It has specified types like0 Parkinson’s dyskinesia, tremors, dystonia, chorea, tardive dyskinesia, spasmodic torticollis and athetosis.

Muscle movement

No muscle movement at all

Uncontrollable muscle movement

Occurrence in foetal stage

Akinesia can also occur in the foetus as FADS.

It does not occur in foetus.


Parkinson’s disease, hormone level fluctuations, supranuclear palsy, shy-dragersyndrome, street drugs, blood vessels syndromes, trauma, genetics

Parkinson’s disease, antipsychotic drugs.Some researchers believe a number of brainchemicals like serotonin, glutamate and dopamine also cause dyskinesia.


Physiotherapy, drug therapy, deep brain simulation, and other surgical procedures.

Changing dosage or timing of levodopa, switching to a different formulation of levodopa, amantadine, deep brain simulation.

Akinesia causes a complete loss of muscle movement while dyskinesia causes uncontrollable muscle movement.


Akinesia is an extremely difficult condition to deal with irrespective of age. A common and effective treatment of akinesia is a combination of levodopa, central nervous system agents, and carbidopa. Carbidopa helps supress the side effects of levodopa, such as nausea. There is no sure shot cure of akinesia or the conditions it causes. We can take help of medications and therapies and change our lifestyle to mitigate its symptoms.

Dyskinesia can be removed permanently provided that we identify its sigs or symptoms at an early stage and stop or change our medication. This is not same for all and may take a long time for other. In some cases, dyskinesia may never go away.

Updated on: 19-Jan-2023


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