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New patient information

The VCU Parkinson's and Movement Disorders Center is committed to providing personalized interdisciplinary care and treatment for patients with a movement disorder. This page provides information to help each patient and family members to get the most out of their experience with us.

Make an appointment

Please call (804) 360-4NOW (4669) to schedule an appointment.

We offer evaluation and care for the full spectrum of movement disorders, including but not limited to:

Ataxia

  • What is Ataxia?
    • Ataxia is a sign of an abnormality in the brain or nerves causing difficulty coordinating movements. It can effect walking, arm and leg control, speaking, swallowing and activities requiring fine motor control. There are many causes of Ataxia including stroke, certain vitamin deficiencies, drug or alcohol use, genetic diseases, Wilson’s disease, multiple sclerosis or cerebral palsy. Diagnosis is made through physical exam and certain tests depending on your history and exam.
  • Resources:

Blepharospasm

Corticobasal degeneration (CBD)

  • What is Corticobasal degeneration?
    • Corticobasal degeneration is a progressive neurological condition caused by abnormal tau protein in the brain cells. It causes symptoms similar to Parkinson’s disease such as rigidity, slowness of movement, tremor and imbalance. It can also cause cognitive impairment or dementia. It does not typically respond well to medications used to treat Parkinson’s disease, but there are ways to help manage symptoms such as providing supportive medications and therapies.
  • Resources:

Dementia with Lewy Bodies

  • What is dementia with Lewy Bodies?
    • Dementia with Lewy Bodies is a neurodegenerative disease causing fluctuating symptoms of progressive cognitive decline, Parkinsonism and hallucinations. It can also cause anxiety, depression and sleep disturbances. People with DLB are often very sensitive to medications used to treat Parkinson’s disease and do not tolerate them well, but there are ways to help manage symptoms such as providing supportive medications and therapies.
  • Resources:

Dystonia and torticollis

Essential Tremor

Huntington's Disease

Multiple System Atrophy (MSA)

  • What is Multiple System Atrophy?
    • Multiple System Atrophy is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder caused by abnormal accumulation of alpha synuclein proteins in the brain. It is similar to Parkinson’s disease and is characterized by rigidity, tremor, slowness of movement and instability. It is also associated with autonomic nervous system problems such as low blood pressure and sensation of light headedness, urinary incontinence, and lower leg swelling. Some patients also have abnormal coordination. It does not typically respond well to medications used to treat Parkinson’s disease, but there are ways to help manage symptoms such as providing supportive medications and therapies.
  • Resources:

Myclonus

  • What is Myoclonus?
    • Myoclonus is an abnormal neurological sign, not a disease. It is characterized by sudden, involuntary, abnormal jerking of muscles. It can be benign or associated with a variety of neurological diseases. Myoclonus can be treated with medications.
  • Resources:

Parkinson's Disease

Parkinsonism/Parkinson-Plus Syndromes

Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP)

  • What is PSP?
    • Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP) is a neurodegenerative disease caused by abnormal accumulation of tau proteins in the brain. It causes symptoms similar to Parkinson’s disease with slowness, stiffness and tremor. It can also cause slowness of eye movements, mood and cognitive changes and early falls. It often does not respond well to medications used to treat Parkinson’s disease, but there are ways to help manage symptoms such as providing supportive medications and therapies.
  • Resources:

Restless Legs Syndrome

  • What is Restless Legs Syndrome?
    • Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a neurological condition which causes abnormal sensations in the legs and sometimes arms resulting in an uncontrollable urge to move. Movement helps relieve the symptoms temporarily. Symptoms generally occur at night, but can occur during the day as well when trying to rest or relax.
  • Resources:

Tardive Dyskinesia / Tardive Dystonia

  • What is Tardive Dyskinesia?
    • Tardive Dyskinesia is a neurological disease causing abnormal and involuntary movements. Most often, these movements are seen in the tongue, lips and face, but they can also occur in the arms, legs or torso. It is caused by taking certain medications for psychiatric or gastrointestinal disorders, usually for long periods of time.
  • Resources:

Tics and Tourette Syndrome

  • What are Tics?
    • Tics are involuntary, repetitive movements (motor tics) and vocalizations (vocal tics). Tics are usually associated with a sensation or urge to perform the tic (premonitory sensation) followed by a sense of relief afterwards. They are a symptom of neurodevelopmental disorders which begin in childhood. Tourette syndrome is a tic disorder characterized by having a combination of two motor tics and one vocal tic for one year or more. Education, environmental adaptations and medications can help manage symptoms.
  • Resources:

Wilson's Disease

  • What is Wilson’s Disease?
    • Wilson’s disease is a rare genetic disorder causing abnormal accumulation of copper in the liver, brain and other organs. Symptoms can include fatigue, yellowing of the skin, abdominal pain, abnormal movements, depression and anxiety. It is diagnosed with laboratory tests and treated with chelation, medications and diet changes.
  • Resources:

Writer's Cramp and Musician's Cramp

  • What is writers/ musicians cramp?
    • Writers and Musicians Cramp is a type of focal dystonia causing abnormal and involuntary contractions of hand muscles when performing specific activities such as writing or playing a musical instrument. It can be treated with exercises, adaptive techniques, botulinum toxin injections or medications.
    • Also see “Dystonia”
  • Resources:

Appointments 

If you need to schedule or reschedule an appointment with one of our providers, please call (804) 360-4669.

You may be referred by your doctor or you may directly make an appointment for yourself or a family member. A physician referral is not required to make an appointment. You may be referred by your doctor (primary care or neurologist) or you may directly make an appointment for yourself or a family member.

We recommend that all new patients check with their insurance company which may require a pre-authorization prior to the appointment date.

We encourage and welcome caregivers and family members to come to and participate in appointments.

Preparing for your first appointment

Your first appointment is scheduled with the neurologist. The clinic coordinator will mail you a new patient information packet with forms that need to be completed prior to your visit. If you have not yet received these or need another copy, please call our office at (804) 360-4669. Please bring these completed forms with you on the day of your appointment.

Please have your primary care physician or neurologist (if you have one) forward your medical records to our office, including any radiology testing (MRI, CT, X-Ray) that you have had in the past year. If you have undergone genetic testing in relation to your diagnosis, please forward the laboratory reports.

The initial appointment with one of our neurologists is usually 90 minutes long.  This includes check in with the nurse as well as your visit with the doctor.  The follow-up neurologist appointments are scheduled based on patient need and average 60 minutes.

For your initial appointment with the neurologist, please bring:

  1. Your insurance cards.
  2. Completed new patient packet . This should have been mailed to you after your appointment was made. If you need another copy, please call our office at (804) 661-9185.
  3. Any additional medical records you have that have not yet been forwarded to our office.
  4. Any films or CDs (not simply the report) of radiology testing (MRI, CT, X-Ray) relevant to your condition that you have had completed in the past year. These are particularly important and if necessary, you may have retrieve these from the imaging testing location.
  5. The pill bottles for all the the medicines you are currently taking. Our staff and/or neurologists may need to see the actual bottle(s) with the name(s) and dosage(s) listed.

Appointment length

The usual length of each appointment with members of the interdisciplinary team varies depending on the specialty:

Specialist
Initial Visit
Follow-up Visit
Neurologist
40 - 60 min.
20 - 30 min.
Neuropsychologist
1 hour interview
3 hours testing
30 min.
Neurosurgeon
90 min.
60 min.
Physical therapist
90 min.
60 min.
Psychiatrist
90 min.
30 min.
Speech therapist
90 min.
60 min.



Getting in touch with us

If you have a question for your doctor or health provider; need a prescription refill or form to be completed; or need to discuss a problem with our nurse; or have questions related to a Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) stimulator, please call (804) 360-4669 and select the appropriate option.

All messages are reviewed on the same business day. Response times vary based on the nature of the request and can range from two to five business days. Be sure to submit your requests early especially during holiday clinic closings.

We highly recommend that all patients enroll in the myVCUhealth portal to expedite requests.

myVCUhealth 

At VCU Medical Center, our commitment to quality care has always included providing access to the latest medical technologies. myVCUhealth logoNow we invite you to manage your health online with myVCUhealth.

myVCUhealth provides you with fast, easy online access to your health information, allowing you to:

Request a prescription refill
View and request appointments
View medications, allergies, immunizations, health issues and selected lab results
Send a secure message to your health care provider
View and download your depart summaries

With myVCUhealth, you can view key components of your electronic medical record, anytime and anyplace you have Internet access. You can use your account to communicate electronically with your VCU Medical Center clinician for non-urgent matters, saving you precious time while providing valuable access to personalized health information.

Visit vcuhealth.org/myvcuhealth for more information or ask your VCU Medical Center clinician how to sign up.

Research

We are committed to advancing the understanding of movement disorders, in terms of both defining biological causes and developing new treatments. Ongoing clinical research is necessary to achieve this important goal. A unique feature of our center is the on-site collaboration of clinical providers from several disciplines that bring a diverse perspective to clinical research studies.

If you are interested in being contacted about opportunities to participate in research studies at our center, please complete and return this form to Ginger Norris. You can drop it off at our office or mail to her attention to Box 980539, Richmond, VA 23298.

A complete listing of our current research projects is available online.

Resources and education

In additional to clinical care services, we also offer resources and education opportunities. You do not have to be a current patient to participate. Please check our Facebook and Twitter pages for updates.

Support groups

View the List of PD Support Groups [PDF]

We also host two support groups at our center:

  • Richmond Metro Huntington Disease Support Group
    Meets the 2nd Tuesday of each month at 6pm
    Contact Ginger Norris, virginia.norris@vcuhealth.org or (804) 628-2022
  • Women's Support Group - for women diagnosed with Parkinson's disease or other movement disorder
    Meets the 2nd Friday of each month at 10am
    Contact Eliza Janus, pdcenter@vcuhealth.org or (804) 628-2659

Other support groups are available and we maintain a listing of groups in Virginia for:

Exercise Resources

Financial assistance

If you worry that you may have difficulty paying your bill for your care in full, VCU may be able to help.  It is important that you let us know if you will have trouble paying your bill or balances after insurance. For more information about financial assistance please, please visit the VCU Medical Center website.

Patient Care

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