What is Dystonia

​Dystonia is a neurological movement disorder. Improper signaling in the brain causes the muscles to contract and twist involuntarily. These muscle spasms may force areas of the body into awkward positions or movements. Dystonia may interfere with daily activities, and some forms of dystonia may be painful. Dystonia is not a psychological or psychiatric disorder. Dystonia affects men, women, and children of all ages and backgrounds. Dystonia is the third most common movement disorder after essential tremor and Parkinson’s disease, affecting an estimated 300,000 people in the United States and Canada.

Types Of Dystonia

  • ​Blepharospasm
  • Cervical dystonia/Spasmodic torticollis
  • Dopa-responsive dystonia
  • Early-onset generalized dystonia (DYT1 and non-DYT1 forms)
  • Oromandibular dystonia/ Meige’s syndrome
  • Spasmodic dysphonia/ Laryngeal dystonia
  • Musician’s dystonia
  • Myoclonus dystonia
  • Paroxysmal dystonia and dyskinesias
  • Rapid-onset dystonia-parkinsonism
  • Secondary dystonia
  • Tardive (drug-induced) dystonia
  • Writer’s cramp/Focal hand dystonia
  • X-linked dystonia-parkinsonism (Lubag)

What Causes Dystonia 

 Some forms of dystonia are attributed to a specific cause or trigger, and for other forms the cause is not yet identified. Dystonia may be genetic or caused by physical trauma, exposure to certain medications, and other neurological/ metabolic conditions. However, the biochemical process in the body that generates symptoms remains unknown. This is often referred to as the “mechanism” of dystonia. Scientists are actively trying to uncover how symptoms occur and suspect that the mechanism is common to all forms of dystonia.

Information About Dystonia