The term chorea (pronounced like the country Korea) is derived from the Greek term for dancing. Medically, the term is used to describe an involuntary writhing movement of part of the body that may appear to be dance-like. Unlike dancing, however, these movements are neither rhythmic nor repetitive, and they are decidedly unpleasant.
In fact, chorea can hinder every day movements, making it difficult to use hands or arms, and may be so severe that walking becomes impossible. Furthermore, chorea can be a sign of symptom of serious neurological diseases.
Sometimes, chorea is caused by something that happens after you're born. About 20 percent of children who have rheumatic fever develop Sydenham's chorea. Chorea can also result from stroke or diffuse hypoxic injury to the brain, or as a side effect from medications like anti-psychotics, anti-convulsants, and levodopa.
Treating chorea depends on the underlying cause. For Huntington's chorea, tetrabenazine is FDA approved. Other treatments for chorea include anti-psychotic medications like Haldol. Sedatives like diazepam can also be tried. A symptom like chorea should never be ignored, and requires evaluation by a physician.