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Dystonia is a movement disorder that causes involuntary contractions of your muscles. These contractions result in twisting and repetitive movements. Sometimes they are painful.

Dystonia can affect just one muscle, a group of muscles or all of your muscles. Symptoms can include tremors, voice problems or a dragging foot. Symptoms often start in childhood. They can also start in the late teens or early adulthood. Some cases worsen over time. Others are mild.

Some people inherit dystonia. Others have it because of another disease. Researchers think that dystonia may be due to a problem in the part of the brain that handles messages about muscle contractions. There is no cure. Doctors use medicines, Botox injections, surgery, physical therapy, and other treatments to reduce or eliminate muscle spasms and pain.

NIH: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

Symptoms of Dystonia

The following features are indicative of Dystonia:
  • abnormal posture
  • stress
  • stiff neck
  • subtle facial spasms
  • difficulty chewing
  • slurred speech
  • cramping of the hand during writing
  • disturbed sleep patterns
  • loss of precision muscle coordination
  • mood swings
  • mental stress
  • difficulty concentrating
  • blurred vision
  • digestive problems
It is possible that Dystonia shows no physical symptoms and still be present in a patient.

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Common Causes of Dystonia

The following are the most common causes of Dystonia:
  • genetic factors
  • family history
  • environmental factors
  • brain injury
  • certain infections
  • reactions to certain drugs

Other Causes of Dystonia

The following are the less common causes of Dystonia:
  • brain trauma
  • various vascular abnormalities

Risk Factors for Dystonia

The following factors may increase the likelihood of Dystonia:
  • genetic factor
  • family history

Prevention of Dystonia

No, it is not possible to prevent Dystonia.
  • mutations in TOR1A and THAP1 genes

Occurrence of Dystonia

Number of Cases

The following are the number of Dystonia cases seen each year worldwide:
  • Common between 1 - 10 Million cases

Common Age Group

Dystonia can occur at any age.

Common Gender

Dystonia can occur in any gender.

Lab Tests and Procedures for Diagnosis of Dystonia

The following lab tests and procedures are used to detect Dystonia:
  • Blood and urine tests: To view the signs of toxins or of other conditions
  • Magnetic resonance imaging: To identify the abnormalities in the brain
  • Electromyography: To measures the electrical activity within muscles

Doctor for Diagnosis of Dystonia

Patients should visit the following specialists if they have symptoms of Dystonia:
  • Neurosurgeons
  • Neurologists

Complications of Dystonia if untreated

Yes, Dystonia causes complications if it is not treated. Below is the list of complications and problems that may arise if Dystonia is left untreated:
  • physical disabilities
  • functional blindness
  • difficulty in swallowing
  • speech difficulty
  • difficulty with jaw movement
  • pain
  • fatigue
  • depression
  • anxiety

Procedures for Treatment of Dystonia

The following procedures are used to treat Dystonia:
  • Deep brain stimulation: Surgically electrodes implanted into a specific part of your brain that help in controlling the muscle contractions
  • Selective denervation surgery: Control muscle spasms

Self-care for Dystonia

The following self-care actions or lifestyle changes may help in the treatment or management of Dystonia:
  • Learn sensory tricks: Reduce spasms by pointing certain parts of your body
  • Avoid stress: Avoid stressful situations
  • Apply hot or cold compresses: Applying heat or cold can help ease muscle pain

Alternative Medicine for Treatment of Dystonia

The following alternate medicine and therapies are known to help in the treatment or management of Dystonia:
  • Do meditation and deep breathing: Eases stress that can worsen spasms
  • Do yoga: Helps in relaxation
  • Do stretching or massage: Eases muscle pain

Patient Support for Treatment of Dystonia

The following actions may help Dystonia patients:
  • Family support: Helps in solving your difficulties

Time for Treatment of Dystonia

While time-period of treatment for each patient may vary, below is the typical time-period for Dystonia to resolve if treated properly under an expert supervision:
  • In 3 - 6 months

Related Topics

Last updated date

This page was last updated on 2/04/2019.
This page provides information for Dystonia.

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