Dystonia is a movement disorder in which a person’s muscles spontaneously contract, causing the affected body part to twist involuntarily and resulting in repetitive movements or abnormal postures. It can affect one muscle, a muscle group, or the entire body. This condition occurs infrequently, affecting about 1 percent of the population. Women are more prone to developing dystonia than men.
Most cases of dystonia do not have a specific cause, but seem to be related to a problem in the basal ganglia of the brain, the area of the brain responsible for refining movement. Dystonia is a disorder in the way the nerve cells within the brain communicate.
Idiopathic or primary dystonia can be inherited or sporadic. Some people are carriers of the disorder without developing dystonia themselves and symptoms may vary widely among members of the same family with dystonia. Acquired dystonia is caused by damage to the basal ganglia due to brain trauma, stroke, tumor, oxygen deprivation, infection, drug reactions, lead poisoning, carbon monoxide poisoning or due to diseases such as Parkinson’s, Huntington’s and Wilson’s.
Signs and symptoms
Symptoms of dystonia can range from very mild to severe and can affect different parts of the body. Often symptoms progress through stages. Typical early symptoms can include"
- “dragging leg"
- foot cramping
- involuntary pulling of the neck
- uncontrollable blinking
- speech difficulties
Symptoms of dystonia can range from very mild to severe and can affect different parts of the body. Often symptoms progress through stages. Typical early symptoms can include a “dragging leg,” foot cramping, involuntary
pulling of the neck, uncontrollable blinking or speech difficulties. Dystonia can’t be cured, but treatment options are available to improve some of the symptoms.