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Dystonia

What is dystonia?

Dystonia is a movement disorder in which excessive muscle contractions cause abnormal postures, movements, tremor, or a combination of these. Dystonia is often brought out or worsened by specific actions.

Some common forms of dystonia are: blepharospasm (eyes and eyebrows), spasmodic dysphonia (vocal cords, especially while speaking), spasmodic torticollis (head and neck muscles), writer’s cramp (hand, especially while writing), and musician’s dystonia (body parts involved in playing instrument).

What causes dystonia?

Dystonia can randomly affect a person without a clear cause, be inherited, or be caused by certain medications, brain injuries, or other neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s disease. Dystonia symptoms are thought to result from abnormal signals in the brain leading to involuntary muscle contraction.

How is dystonia treated?

If dystonia is caused by another neurological disease, optimal treatment of that disease is often part of the treatment approach. Other treatment options for dystonia include physical and occupational therapy, prostheses and orthotics, oral medications such as muscle relaxers, Botulinum toxin injections, and surgeries like Deep Brain Stimulation

What can I expect?

Dystonia symptoms typically stabilize and stay the same within a few years of onset, but some forms can progressively worsen and may spread to neighboring or distant muscles

Where can I learn more?