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Functional Movement Disorder :: #2 – Exploring the Symptoms


A contracture develops when the normally stretchy (elastic) tissues are replaced by nonstretchy (inelastic) fiber-like tissue. this makes it hard to stretch the area and prevents normal movement.

Contractures mostly occur in the skin, the tissues underneath, and the muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joint areas.

They affect range of motion and function in a certain body part. There is usually also pain. (Source: MedlinePlus)

What this means is that my hands curl up (sometimes together, sometimes individually) and are pulled up tight against my chest with arms pressed against my sides. The wrists are floppy, but they and my fingers are locked in really odd positions that I can’t break out of.

If I am sat, my legs come up and down with bent knees (either together or separately); and my feet flex with the toes straining towards me.

I regularly need someone else to massage and straighten my hands and fingers for me as the pins and needles that build up – along with the shooting electric shocks – get unbearable after a time.

There is A LOT of pain with these and I often throw up after having my limbs straightened because the pain is unbearable.



Gait Problems

‘Gait’ is to do with a person’s manner of walking.

I regularly feel heaviness down one side of my body and end up being unable to lift my arms and legs; and drag my foot along when I walk. It looks something like this:

example of functional weakness

I suffer from dizziness throughout the day and these are strong enough that when I am sat down, the world continues to spin and it sometimes helps to put one hand down to support my sitting posture because if I just sit upright, my body sways in disorientation due to the level of dizziness.

The muscle weakness in my legs makes me stumble and I use crutches to walk – indoors and out. I have to go slow and steady and think through each step I am taking: looking down at where I place my feet as a way of staying in control of the movement and being better able to judge my balance.

I get weaker the longer I walk – getting weary very quickly. It takes a lot of concentration to coordinate the movement of my legs and it gets to the stage where I am swinging my left leg forward through my hip as I am unable to lift and place my left foot.

I struggle to remain standing for longer than a few minutes and find that I have to lean against walls, countertops and other people: resting my left toe against the ground because my left foot doesn’t feel comfortable being placed flat on the floor for any period of time if it is bearing my weight.

I’ve had to buy a manual wheelchair to make it easier for me to travel when outside of the house.


It’s probably best if we stop there for now. The next post will continue looking at symptoms; with a focus on pain, facial spasm and speech problems. Please feel free to use the comment box below the post for any questions you may have.

Take good care of yourself and here’s wishing you better physical and/or mental health.

Yours sincerely,
mightwar signature
AKA Crip McWog™


  • a website written by a neurologist with special interest in these problems, that aims to give a better understanding of these symptoms. The website was recommended to me by the specialist doctor at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery (Queen Square).
  • a website started by a sufferer of functional motor symptoms with the goal to “to promote awareness, support affected individuals, and advance research”.


SO TELL ME: To help me develop this series and make it as informative/useful as possible, I would like to hear your thoughts on the following:

  • Was this information clear and understandable? Are there ways that I should format it to make it easier/more interesting to read?
  • What kind of information would be useful to know through the series?
  • What parts of my experience should I share to help people understand what the disorder looks like in reality?

It doesn’t matter whether you are a fellow sufferer, a carer or family member, a medical professional or none of the above. Please share your thoughts and help me spread knowledge about this disorder as there is very little information available out there for suffers, their families and their carers. Many thanks in advance for your assistance.


This series in running order

  1. The Stink of Chronic Illness
  2. Functional Movement Disorder :: #1 – What Is It?: which focuses on what to do when your symptoms first manifest.
  3. Functional Movement Disorder :: #2 – Exploring the Symptoms: which focuses on symptoms of weakness & paralysis, tremor & spasm, contractures and gait problems.
  4. Functional Movement Disorder :: #2.1 – Exploring the Symptoms: which focuses on symptoms of pain, facial spasm and speech problems.


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AUTHOR: I am might war. I have a love of music, the written word, travel, Anime, polar bears, people and “sticking and colouring”.

4 thoughts on “Functional Movement Disorder :: #2 – Exploring the Symptoms

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