Neurology: Movement Disorders & Parkinson's

The Movement Disorders and Parkinson's Program at the UF Health Neuroscience Institute at Jacksonville provides comprehensive treatment of Parkinson's disease and other types of movement disorders. The center is staffed by faculty neurologists of the University of Florida Department of Neurology fellowship-trained in movement disorders. A full-time nurse coordinator educates patients and caregivers and assists in patient care. Physicians, pharmacists and nurses provide patients with medication management and education. A full-time research assistant evaluates interested patients for clinical research studies. The Movement Disorders and Parkinson's Program provides:

Evaluation and Diagnosis

Accurate, early diagnosis allows implementation of effective treatments that positively impact the patient's movement disorder and quality of life. Diagnostic studies include brain imaging, specific blood tests and neurophysiological testing. Common movement disorders diagnosed and treated include Parkinson's and other neurodegenerative diseases, dystonias (torticollis, hemifacial spasm, blepharospasm, focal dystonia), tremors, Huntington's Chorea, tic disorders and psychogenic movements.

The University of Florida physicians in the Movement Disorder and Parkinson's Program perform a detailed neurologic and medical history utilizing a comprehensive review of patient symptoms. Patient symptoms may include tremors, rigidity, loss of balance, changes in gait, slowness of movement, abnormal and involuntary movements of the limbs, trunk, or body, involuntary muscular contractions, and speech difficulties. Patients are diagnosed through an in-depth evaluation that includes a complete physical examination and detailed neurological assessment.

Treatment Options

  • Medication Management
    Medication management is performed by the physician, nurse and pharmacist team using a specific regimen tailored for each individual patient. Patients are given verbal and written instructions with medication flow sheets and information about the benefits and potential side effects of each medication

  • Botulinum Toxin Therapy
    This therapy involves an injection of the protein botulinum toxin directly into spastic/dystonic muscles to lessen abnormal muscle tone or contraction. Diseases that might benefit from these injections include torticollis, hemifacial spasm, blepharospasm, dystonic tics, cerebral palsy, post stroke spasticity, multiple sclerosis, writer's cramp and chronic migraine headache.

  • Cranio-Sacral Massage and Neuromuscular Therapy
    Massage and neuromuscular therapy is prescribed for patients suffering from muscle spasms and stiff and rigid muscles.

  • Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS)
    Patients may receive preoperative evaluation for this procedure, which involves placement of an electrode, followed by stimulation of a specific part of the brain (thalamus, globus pallidus, subthalamic nucleus). Stimulation relieves tremor in essential tremor (ET) and Parkinson's disease (PD), or rigidity, bradykinesia and dyskinesia in Parkinson's disease. DBS may be highly effective in medically refractory ET and PD patients.

    More About Deep Brain Stimulation »

  • Pallidotomy
    The center can assess patients for this procedure, which involves placing a small surgical probe in the globus pallidus of the brain in patients with advanced Parkinson's disease to reduce tremor, rigidity, bradykinesia and dyskinesia.

  • Education
    Patients and caregivers receive educational materials during their first visit. Subscriptions to newsletters such as The Parkinson 's Report are also available through the center. A monthly lecture series on Parkinson's disease is held the second Wednesday of each month on the UF Health Jacksonville campus. Speakers include physicians, nurses, therapists and other health professionals. Periodic courses and symposiums on Parkinson's disease are offered to the public and medical community. A resource library with brochures, books and videos is open to patients and families during the center's regular business hours.

  • Physical and Rehabilitative Therapies
    Patients are assessed and referred for rehabilitative treatments such as physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy including swallowing studies. Patients and their care partners are also referred for psychological, psychiatric or neuropsychological testing as part of a comprehensive approach to treatment.

    More About Rehabilitation Services »

  • Support Groups
    Parkinson's patients and their family members receive group counseling led by licensed therapists at a monthly support group. Counseling is provided by the nurse coordinator on a one-on-one basis for patients who need help accepting their diagnosis, coping with their illness and desire more education regarding their disease state and treatment options. An early onset support group is also available.

    View Support Groups »

  • Yoga and Tai Chi Classes
    Parkinson's disease patients may participate in yoga and Tai Chi classes that aid in relaxation, flexibility, stress reduction and improving balance. Patients attending the weekly exercise classes also benefit through the emotional and psychological support they receive from the other class members.

    More About Tai Chi Classes »

  • Clinical Drug Trials
    Patients of the Movement Disorder and Parkinson's Program may have the opportunity to participate in clinical research trials to test the effectiveness of new medications and alternative therapies for a variety of movement disorders.

    View Clinical Trials »



  1. UF Health Neurology – JTB Kernan (UF Health East)

    Second Floor
    5191 First Coast Tech Parkway
    Jacksonville, FL 32224

  2. UF Health Neurology – North

    Suite 6500
    15255 Max Leggett Parkway
    Jacksonville, FL 32218