Akinesia is a symptom that causes a person to lose the ability to move their muscles. Occasionally, a person’s body seems “frozen.”

Doctors usually associate this disease with an advanced stage of  Parkinson’s disease, which results in a loss of control of his movements. However, there are other medical causes related to akinesia.

Babies in the womb can suffer from akinesia, which can have a detrimental impact on their development.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms can include difficulty starting to walk and muscle stiffness in the legs.

Some of the symptoms include:

  • Difficulty when a person begins to walk.
  • Muscle stiffness, usually starting in the neck and legs. Facial muscles may become stiff.
  • A sudden inability to move the feet properly, especially when changing direction.

A person with Parkinson’s disease may have some or all of the symptoms of the disease. However, according to one study, nearly half of people with Parkinson’s disease reported akinesia.

Furthermore, It is possible that a person may have akinesia alone without any underlying signs of Parkinson’s disease. Such a case is known as « pure » akinesia and is not accompanied by the other symptoms of Parkinson’s disease: tremors at rest, generalized slower movements, or rigidity.

Akinesia refers to the loss of the ability to move one’s muscles voluntarily, and it is most commonly described as a symptom of Parkinson’s disease.

Difference Between Akinesia and Dyskinesia

Akinesia and dyskinesia are two symptoms that describe movement disorders.

Akinesia is a lack of movement, whereas a person with dyskinesia or difficulty moving has muscles that move involuntarily and unexpectedly. Examples may include shaking or twitching movements.

Both symptoms can occur when a person has Parkinson’s disease.

Causes of Akinesia

In adults, some of the causes associated with this condition include:

  • Parkinson’s disease: A reduction in the amounts of dopamine produced in the brain affects a person’s ability to control their muscles.
  • Drug-induced Parkinson’s-like symptoms: when a person takes too much of a drug that inhibits dopamine.
  • Progressive supranuclear palsy: A disease that usually first impacts balance during walking.
  • Hypothyroidism or deficient levels of thyroid hormone.

In people with Parkinson’s disease, men are more likely to suffer from akinesia than women. Those with resting tremors as the predominant symptom of their Parkinson’s disease are less likely to suffer from akinesia than others.

Risk factors

Risk factors include:

  • a history of bradykinesia or slowed muscle movement;
  • have had Parkinson’s disease for a long time;
  • postural instability;
  • muscle stiffness problems.

Genetic causes

Doctors have also isolated two genetic mutations associated with increased risks of fetal akinesia.

A person with a family history or a baby with the condition can see a genetics specialist. She can be tested for DOK7 and RAPSN gene mutations associated with akinesia.


Treatment depends on the cause of the symptoms.

Medication-Related Symptoms

For example, drug-related akinesia can be treated by stopping the drug causing the problem.

Symptoms related to Parkinson’s disease

Treatments for Parkinson’s disease-related akinesia can be more complicated. Doctors often prescribe drugs that increase the amount of the neurotransmitter dopamine in the body.

These symptoms may help, as reduced levels of dopamine cause the motor symptoms associated with Parkinson’s disease.

These drugs include levodopa, carbidopa, MAO-B inhibitors, and dopamine agonists.