Chorea is a movement disorder that causes involuntary, unpredictable body movements.
That is derived from the Greek word “dance”.
The patient often appears fidgety and clumsy. They can affect various body parts, and interfere with speech, swallowing, posture and gait. Chorea may worsen with anxiety and voluntary movements, and subsides during sleep. Chorea is characterized by brief, semi-directed, irregular movements that are not repetitive or rhythmic, but appear to flow from one muscle to the next.
These ‘dance-like’ movements of chorea often occur with athetosis, which adds twisting and writhing movements. Walking may become difficult, and include odd postures and leg movements.
Signs and Symptoms of Chorea
Chorea symptoms usually depend upon the condition causing it. A common symptom is “milkmaid’s grip.” People with this condition don’t have coordinated hand muscles and will squeeze and release their hand, as if milking. Another symptom is involuntarily sticking out the tongue.
Chorea movements can be fast or slow. A person may appear to be writhing in pain and have no bodily control. These movements have also been called dance-like or similar to piano playing.
Conditions associated with chorea and its symptoms include:
Huntington’s disease is an inherited disease. It causes the breakdown of nerve cells in your brain. People with Huntington’s disease can experience chorea symptoms such as involuntary jerking or writhing. Milkmaid’s grip is also a common symptom.
This condition is a very rare genetic disorder. It’s characterized by misshapen red blood cells. It causes neurological abnormalities and affects brain functioning.
Chorea for this condition commonly involves:
- abnormal arm and leg movements
- shoulder shrugs
- pelvic thrusts
It can also involve rapid, purposeless movements of the face.
People with this form of chorea can also exhibit dystonia. This is characterized by involuntary muscle contractions of the mouth and face, such as:
- teeth grinding
- involuntary belching
- drooling or spitting
- lip and tongue biting
- difficulty with speech or communication
- difficulty swallowing
- vocal tics, such as grunting, involuntary speaking, or slurred speech
In addition to chorea and dystonia, this condition may cause:
- loss of sensation
- muscle weakness
- behavioral and personality changes
Sydenham’s chorea mainly affects children and adolescents. It follows a streptococcal infection. It can also be a complication of rheumatic fever.
This type of chorea mainly affects the:
It can impede voluntary movements, making it difficult to perform basic tasks such as getting dressed or feeding yourself.
It can also lead to:
- frequently dropping or spilling items
- abnormal gait
- muscle weakness
- slurred speech
- diminished muscle tone
People with this chorea type often display milkmaid grip. Another common symptom is called “harlequin tongue.” When a person with this symptom tries to stick their tongue out, the tongue pops in and out instead.
Chorea is associated with several additional causes, some temporary and some chronic. These causes include:
- genetic conditions, such as Huntington’s disease
- immune conditions, such as systemic lupus erythematosus
- infection-related conditions, such as Sydenham’s chorea
- medications, including levodopa and neuroleptics
- metabolic or endocrine disorders, including hypoglycemia
- pregnancy, known as chorea gravidarum
Homeopathic Treatment of Chorea
Tarentula Hispanica – Top Grade Medicine for Chorea
Tarentula Hispanica tops the list of medicines for managing chorea. In cases where this remedy is required, all the limbs are affected with involuntary movements. This can be attended with intense hyperaesthesia (increased sensitivity of skin). Constant movements of the arm, tossing of the arms from side to side, constant motion of hands that leads to difficulty in doing anything with the hand are some accompanying symptoms. Involuntary movements of the leg and feet are prominent, leading to an inability to walk. Difficulty in speech, heaviness of the tongue with involuntary movements, and choreic movements of the head are also present. In such cases, the head is turned violently from side to side and in other directions. Nervous contractions in muscles of the face are also noted. All these movements are less intense at night in cases where Tarentula is required.
Mygale – For Uncontrollable Movements of Face, Arms, and Legs
Mygale is a beneficial medicine to treat chorea with uncontrollable movements of arms, legs, and face. Among them, the contractions and movements of facial muscle are most marked. There is a constant motion of the legs. The legs jerk excessively, making it difficult to stand or walk. The gait becomes unsteady and it becomes difficult to keep hands in the same position even for a minute. The person needing Mygale may also have involuntary head movements, throwing the head backward and then forwards is prominent. Constant jerking of the head (mostly to the right side) is also noted. Shrugging of shoulders, difficulty in putting out tongue and grating of teeth at night are other indications to use Mygale. The chorea symptoms get better during sleep and are worse in the morning where Mygale is indicated.
Agaricus – For Chorea with Uncertain, Unsteady Gait
Agaricus is well-indicated for cases of chorea where an uncertain, unsteady gait is prominent. While walking the person tumbles over everything in the way. It is given for both involuntary motion/jerking of single muscles of a body part as well as involuntary trembling/dancing of the whole body. The limbs may feel cold and weak with above indications. It is also helpful when chorea affects limbs crosswise i.e. left arm and right leg.
Cina – For Chorea Affecting Face and Upper Limbs
Cina is a helpful remedy for chorea affecting the face and upper limbs. The involuntary movements on the face are marked around the eyes. Another feature is throwing of arms from side to side. The limbs are distorted with jerking and trembling. A weakness of the hand is also present, making it difficult to hold things. Complaints usually appear on one side. Few general symptoms like irritability, screaming, striking and restless sleep may also be present.
Causticum – For Right-Sided Chorea
Causticum is the next prominent medicine for managing chorea. Causticum is most indicated in cases of chorea when the right side of the body is more affected. The face, tongue, arm, and leg get affected. There is a marked twisting and jerking of limbs. An unsteady gait is present with involuntary body movements. A weakness of muscles is also present with the above symptoms. Worsening of symptoms may be noted during the night. Causticum is also indicated for chorea during pregnancy.
Cuprum Met – For Left-sided Chorea
Cuprum Met is a valuable medicine for chorea affecting the left side of the body. There is jerking of arms and legs. The arms and legs also feel weak, weary and lame. There may be muscle contractions. Jerking of hands is also present. The person can hold nothing in hand and the objects fall to the ground. Speech is also affected with trembling of the tongue,e.t.c