Coordination & Movement – Ataxia – Ashley Johnston AEP

When it comes to movement, Coordination is the combination of body movements created with spatial direction and force that result in the intended actions. However there are times when individuals can be uncoordinated, have a lack of control or even the loss of coordination. The term that is applied to all these examples is ataxia. Ataxia is specifically the loss of full control of bodily movements.

What this means is that for those who are affected by ataxia there body movements are not smooth, coordinated or seamless.  Initiation of movement starts from neural signals from the brain. Ataxia is when there is a disruption in this communication between the brain and the body. This can present in the form of jerky, stiff and unsteady movements.

There are those who are affected with ataxia slowly over time whilst for others it can occur suddenly and without any warning. One common trend is that there is a loss in balance and coordination of movements.  It could be a simple of having an unsteady gait pattern or having a higher risk of falls but for some it could mean the decrease in the ability to walk, move arms and control your fine motor skills such as being able to write or button up a shirt. There are other symptoms that can occur such as dizziness, visual difficulties, problems/ changes to speech, difficulty swallowing and tremors.

Exercise can be used as a way to maintain strength and mobility for preforming everyday activities to maintain independence. For example walking up and down stairs, sitting and standing out of chair and getting changed. In addition, exercise can help improve fine motor skills and fluidity of movements which can help reduce the risk of falls. This can include picking up objects, turning door handles and involving gait patterns.