Cerebellar ataxia – symptoms, causes and natural treatment!

Cerebellar ataxia is a form of ataxia originating in the cerebellum that can occur as a result of many diseases and has symptoms of an inability to coordinate balance, gait, extremity and eye movements .

Cerebellar lesions can cause dyssynergia, dysmetria, dysdiadochokinesia, dysarthria, and ataxia of posture and gait. Deficits are seen with movements on the same side of the body as the lesion (ipsilateral). Doctors often use visual observation of people performing motor tasks to look for signs of ataxia.

What is cerebellar ataxia :

Cerebellar ataxia  leads to a lack of coordination of muscle movement caused by a dysfunction in a part of the brain called the cerebellum, which controls the timing and strength of muscle movement.

People have difficulty balancing, walking uncoordinated and unsteady, and have difficulty making precise movements with their hands and arms. It can be caused by conditions that lead to brain damage, specific drugs, or brain disorders of the cerebellum.

Causes of cerebellar ataxia:

Cerebellar ataxia is caused by damage to the cerebellum, the part of the brain that controls movement, which can result from a head injury, stroke, brain tumor, or multiple sclerosis.

Drugs that suppress the central nervous system, such as antiepileptic drugs and lithium, can also cause it. Some types of ataxia may be genetic, but for some people no specific cause can be found.

Symptoms of cerebellar ataxia:

Symptoms associated with cerebellar ataxia are both neurological and mechanical. In addition, it usually affects the trunk: from the neck to the hips, but also the arms and legs. General symptoms include:

  • An awkward speech pattern (dysarthria): joint disorders;
  • Nystagmus: repetitive eye movements;
  • Uncoordinated eye movements;
  • An unsteady step.

Risk factors for cerebellar ataxia:

Risk factors associated with cerebellar ataxia  are genetic in the context of autosomal dominant transmission. In the latter case, the transmission of a single copy of the mutated gene of interest is sufficient for the development of the disease to the offspring. In this sense, if one of the parents is suffering from the pathology, the child has a 50% risk of being affected as well.

Other factors also come into play in the development of this pathology. These include viral infections: chicken pox , Eptein-Barr virus infection, Coxsackie disease, or echovirus infection. The risk factor most widely is disorders of the brain and nervous system.

Diagnosis of cerebellar ataxia:

If referred to a specialist by your doctor, the diagnosis of your condition will be made based on your medical history, answers to questions about your symptoms, a physical exam, and the results of various tests. These tests may include a blood test and a brain scan.

Cerebellar Ataxia Treatment:

Treatment of ataxia depends on the underlying cause and may include medications, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech pathology. Physiotherapeutic treatment aims to provide exercises that improve coordination and control of limb and trunk movement, in addition to improving balance and gait.

It also includes learning strategies for safe mobility and, for some people, prescribing an appropriate walking aid to reduce the risk of falls.

Useful links: 

Referral to an occupational therapist can be done to help patients adjust their home environment to maximize safety and ease of movement, and also to learn new ways of performing daily activities. Speech pathology is required if symptoms include speech and swallowing difficulties.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *