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Children with movement disorders often have trouble controlling their movements. Our expert pediatric neurologists have advanced training in movement disorders. They work alongside orthopedists, neurosurgeons, physical and occupational therapists, and specialized nurse practitioners to optimize your child’s care. Our targeted approach maximizes your child’s quality of life.
Children’s Hospital Los Angeles is one of the few programs in the nation to offer specialty-trained staff and such a wide range of movement disorder treatments. Our pediatric Movement Disorders Clinic includes several subspecialty treatment clinics.
At Children’s Hospital, your child benefits from:
Every movement your child makes, even automatic ones, like smiling or blinking, involves complex signals between the brain, nerves and muscles. If children have brain or spinal cord damage, their brains may have trouble sending the right signals to the muscles and nerves.
Problems with these signals result in problems with movement. This may occur due to an injury, or it may be congenital (present at birth).
Children with movement disorders may have one or more of these problems:
When you come to the pediatric Movement Disorders Clinic, you and your child meet with our movement disorder doctor or nurse practitioner. These specialists discuss your child’s medical history and symptoms, then do a physical examination. Children may need to walk around the room, repeat specific phrases or write for this assessment.
We offer an initial diagnosis and treatment options at this visit. If you decide to start your child on medication, a nurse will provide educational materials about the medicine. Depending on the treatment plan, your child may return for follow-up care at one of our specialized clinics.
Within the Movement Disorders Clinic, we offer specialized treatment programs. These include:
Baclofen is a type of medication that helps relax the muscles. Children who have severe spasticity may be candidates for an implantable (intrathecal) baclofen pump.
Pumps are often more effective than oral medication, because they deliver the medicine directly to the spine. Families work closely with the physician and nurse practitioner in this clinic to ensure that the treatment works well. Find out more about our Baclofen Pump Clinic.
Botulinum toxin is a medication for treating spasticity and dystonia. We are one of the only places in Southern California where children can get botulinum toxin injections for dystonia. These injections work by temporarily decreasing muscle tightness. Children receive periodic injections at the Botulinum Toxin Clinic, usually every three months.
Cerebral palsy is caused by injury to the developing brain during infancy, or even before birth. This condition leads to problems with muscle tone, posture, strength and movement.
Children with cerebral palsy have difficulty controlling their movements, and may benefit from treatment of spasticity or dystonia. Care options include medications, intrathecal baclofen pumps, botulinum toxin injections, or surgical procedures.
Our multidisciplinary approach to cerebral palsy care includes collaboration with specialists from:
Movement disorder specialists at Children’s Hospital diagnose and treat all types of movement disorders in children, including: