Can Head Injury be confused with Parkinsons and/or Dystonia?

My husband had a head injury 35 years ago, and we were doing fine, but recently his walking has deteriorated - (difficulty in telling the right leg to go forward). His neuro-physiotherapist says its Dystonia. Now after seeing a urologist, he says its Parkinsons. Our GP says nothing! Should we be following up on doing something about either Dystonia or Parkinsons? Or are the symptoms similar and really down to Head Injury? Confused of Uckfield!

9 Replies

  • Very sure I can't offer advice on the diagnoses other than to note that there is a interlink between all 3.

    In that having a head injury increases your risk of Parkinson's and Dystoni, plus Dystonia from Parkinson it's self.

  • These are all neurological conditions which are probably indistinguishable to the lay-person. Is your husband's neurophysiotherapist recommending a particular treatment for either Parkinson's or Dystonia which might act as a diagnostic, and could be discontinued after a given period if no benefits are evident ?

    I presume all the appropriate tests have been carried out ; I have to say I'm pretty surprised that a pathologist can't determine the precise cause of your husband's symptoms. Have you considered asking for an examination by a neurophysiologist ?

    What a confusing & uncertain situatation you're facing right now Caroline ; I hope you can get some answers soon.

    All best wishes, Cat x

  • Thanks for this. No, no tests done, and no suggestions from physiotherapist - she just does what instinct and experience tell her works! I have never hear of a neurophysiologist. I will start with te GP (6 weeks wait for a consultation!!) and work up from there. After 35 years living with it, you lose impetus to investigate, as when you do, with head injuries, all you get back is a large bill and "no-on knows"!

    hanks for giving me a push!


  • Caroline, thought I'd copy & paste an article from the 'Brain and Spine Foundation' to clarify the role of a neurophysiologist.


    A neurophysiologist is a medical doctor who specialises in testing the electrical functions of the brain, the spinal cord and the nerves in the limbs and muscles.

    The neurophysiologist is responsible for examining and writing reports on all the tests done in the neurophysiology department, and interpreting the results for the doctors who referred the person to them. They perform most nerve conduction studies, EMG (electromyography) recordings and EEG (electroencephalogram) recordings to diagnose epilepsy.

    How do I access neurophysiology services?

    You will be referred for tests by your neurologist.


    Best wishes m'dear. xxx

  • We had a person from the dementia society give a talk at our local headway group.

    She explained what early signs to look out for. She looked puzzled when we all answerved " but we already are like that now".

    She could not say there was a defination link as in a head injury would lead on to dementia. Seeing as a lot of the symptoms of early dementia are the same it does worry you that how can we spot or be diagnosed should it do so.

    Not much help to you I know but thought I would share with you.


  • Thank ypou Pax - at least I know I'm not alone, and there's no definitive answer!


  • I must admit although the woman had come to reassure us it had the opposite effect.

    I did worry for a while about not spotting the signs in the future. Then I thought why add another worry so thought I will tackle it if and when it happens.


  • Hi, wise words above! the fact is that the more subtle changes in the brain that do not show up on the hi-tech scanners in which hospitals currently invest is still a grey area... Your GP is certainly no expert and his/her role it to refer to the potentially most relevant department so don't be too hard on him/her.

    I have developed memory problems 24 years after my TBI and nothing shows on the scans so after 2 years on the waiting list I am having visits from a Neuropsychologist who (I hope) will come up with some strategies for coping. Meantime I have added vitamin B to my pill box!

    The damaged brain and its ageing process is probably never going to be clear cut...

  • Thank you Caroline - consoling words! It seems nothing is clear-cut, and we would be wise to steer clear of labels, but just get on with making the best of life! Plus vit B sounds a good idea!

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