Aimless movements are body movements that are not initiated with any specific purpose or intent by the person. They may be voluntary or involuntary.

Alternative Names

Purposeless movement.


Aimless movements can be a symptom of a primary or secondary movement disorder, side effect of a medication, psychiatric disturbance or dementia. Aimless or purposeless movement is therefore a significant symptom requiringevaluation by a physician to determine the origin of the problem. Examples of aimless movements can be tics, hiccups, jerks, spasms, myoclonus, tremor, random movements, repetitive movement, restless movements, and lip smacking,

Associated Diagnoses

  • Brain tumor
  • Autism
  • Delirium
  • Epilepsy
  • Guillain-Barre syndrome
  • Head injury
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Neuroblastoma
  • Neurofibromatosis 2
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Partial seizures
  • Reye’s syndrome
  • Schizophrenia
  • Seizures
  • Snake bites
  • Tay-Sachs Disease
  • Tetanus
  • Side effects of medications
  • Vertebrobasilar insufficiency
  • Wernicke Korsakoff syndrome
  • Huntington’s chorea
  • Restless legs syndrome

Diagnosis and Treatment

A thorough evaluation by a physician is required for aimless movement and referral to a specialist will likely be needed. A complete history and physical will be required as well as a number of diagnostic and laboratory studies. The treatment will depend on the diagnosis.

Call your provider:

Whenever someone is manifesting signs of aimless or purposeless movements. It may be an indication of a serious medical or psychiatric problem.