Everything You Need to Know and Understand About Dystonia

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Dystonia is a condition characterized by uncontrolled muscle contractions. These may cause slow yet repetitive movements or disturb the body posture. Individuals suffering from dystonia may experience pain and other neurological symptoms as well. 

Dystonic tremors that result from dystonia can affect one or more muscles at a time. Also, some forms of dystonia may affect all the muscles throughout the body. There are no specific causes related to dystonia. However, in some cases it is genetic. 

Symptoms:

Since dystonia can affect different parts of your body, the symptoms may vary. Nevertheless, some of the common symptoms are:

  • Experiencing foot cramps or one foot turning or dragging after walking some distance or running. 
  • Handwriting getting worsens after writing a couple of lines. 
  • Involuntary turning or pulling of the neck, especially when you are under stress or tired. 
  • Eyes blinking rapidly or getting closed because of spasms. 
  • Difficulty in speaking.
  • Experiencing frequent tremors. 

In the beginning, the symptoms can be mild. However, their intensity and frequency might increase with time. The progression of dystonia varies from person to person. Some individuals suffering from the condition might even experience anxiety and depression. 

When do symptoms occur?

There is no specific age group that dystonia affects. Then again, if it is genetic or idiopathic dystonia, it may start right from childhood. 

Early onset dystonia starts by affecting limbs and gradually progresses to affect other body parts. Some symptoms might even fluctuate over the day depending on the physical exertion and routine of the person. 

Initially, symptoms of dystonia are experienced only when a person is stressed or physically engaged. However, with time, dystonic posture and movements are even experienced while a person is sitting or relaxing. 

Available treatment options:

There are no specific medications that can prevent or slow down the progression of dystonia. Nevertheless, there are treatment options that can ease the symptoms by many folds. If you are experiencing any alarming symptoms, it is best to consult South Valley Neurology right away. Their expert neurologists will run a few tests and help in diagnosing the condition and suggesting treatment. 

Depending on your specific condition, one or more of the below-mentioned treatment options may be recommended. 

  • Botulinum injections: They are great for treating focal dystonia. A small amount of medication is injected into the affected muscles. As a result, muscle contractions, abnormal movements, and postures are prevented. 
  • Medications: It is observed that drugs that affect neurotransmitters prove to be effective for dystonia. These drugs are approved by the FDA, but they are not specifically approved for treating dystonia. 
  • Deep brain stimulation: It is recommended in cases when medications don’t give positive results or symptoms are very severe. 
  • Physical and other therapies: Along with medications, some therapeutic approaches are seen to prevent and control the symptoms. for instance, speech and voice therapy is recommended for patients with spasmodic dysphonia. Also, certain physical therapies help in managing stress. 

Lastly, if you or your loved one is experiencing abnormal shaking of the legs and hands, it is time to consult a neurologist. The symptoms might not be the same for everyone, and thus you cannot jump to any conclusion without getting diagnosed properly.