About Dystonia

Dystonia is a neurological movement disorder. Primarily a hereditary condition, dystonia can cause severe involuntary muscle contractions that may interfere with your everyday life.

Definition and Symptoms

Dystonia is a neurological movement disorder characterised by involuntary muscle contractions. These contractions force certain parts of the body into repetitive, twisting movements or painful postures.

Individuals with dystonia often suffer from abnormal involuntary muscle contractions that may often interfere with everyday functions like walking, sleeping, eating, and talking.

Types of Dystonia

There are two types of dystonia:

  • Primary dystonia – a condition in which dystonia is the only symptom (no other pathology)
  • Secondary dystonia – the result of another health condition such as stroke or infection. It may also result from an injury, such as trauma to the brain.

Additionally, there are various classifications of dystonia characterised by the affected part of the body:

  • Focal dystonia (including cervical) affects one area of the body
  • Segmental dystonia affects two or more nearby areas of the body
  • Generalised dystonia affects the entire body

Causes

Although the causes of dystonia are unclear, primary dystonia is mainly hereditary. Generalised dystonia is considered the most difficult form of dystonia to live with and to treat.

References

  1. What is Dystonia? Available at: www.neurosurgerytoday.org. Accessed April 15, 2008.

Information on this site should not be used as a substitute for talking with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.

Last updated: 19 Apr 2016

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