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Home » Medical Condition: Dystonia

Dystonia: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

Publish Date: 03 December, 2021; Author: Darren M. Jorgenson.
Medical Condition - Dystonia
Dystonia health condition refers to a movement disorder in which a person’s muscles contract involuntarily while causing twisting or repetitive movements.

This health condition affects one part of the body called focal Dystonia and two or more adjacent parts referred to as segmental Dystonia. And even all the body parts are referred to as general Dystonia since the muscle spasms can range from mild to severe and can be painful that they can interfere with the day-to-day performance and tasks.

Though there is no cure to the health condition but the medication can improve the symptoms. Let us get acquainted with all the essential information concerning the health condition.

Symptoms of Dystonia

Dystonia affects different people in diverse ways. The muscle contractions might

  • Start in a single area like your arm, neck, or leg. It is a focal dystonia that starts after the age of 21
  • It takes place during a particular action like handwriting
  • Become noticeable over time
  • Gets worse with fatigue, anxiety, or stress.

The body areas that can be affected due to the health condition include:

  • Neck
    The contraction causes the head to twist and turn to one side only while sometimes causing pain.
  • Eyelids
    Involuntary spasms or rapid blinking can cause the eyes to close and make it complicated for you to see. However, the spasms are not painful but might increase when exposed to a brighter light or under stress.
  • Vocal cords and voice box
    You might experience a whispering or tight voice.
  • Tongue or Jaw
    With this area affected, one might experience slurred speech, difficulty chewing, swallowing, and drooling.
  • Forearm and hand
    Several types of dystonic occur when one performs a repetitive activity like writing or playing a specific musical instrument.

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When do you gotta see a doctor?

The early signs of the health condition are occasional, mild, and associated with a specific activity only. Still, you gotta see a doctor if you are experiencing repeated and involuntary muscle contractions.

Causes of Dystonia

The health condition’s exact cause is unknown but might include the modified nerve cell communication in the brain’s several regions. The health condition can be a symptom of some other health condition, including

  • Huntington’s Disease
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Stroke
  • Birth injury
  • Wilson’s Disease
  • Brain tumour
  • Infections like TB
  • Reactions to specific medications
  • Oxygen deprivation or carbon monoxide poisoning

Complications involved in Dystonia

Depending upon the type, the complications involved with the health condition include

  • Difficulty with a vision that affects the eyelids
  • Physical disabilities that affect the performance of performing specific tasks or daily activities
  • Fatigue or pain due to muscle contractions
  • Anxiety, social withdrawal, and depression
  • Difficulty with speech, swallowing, and jaw movement

Diagnosis of Dystonia

The medical doctor starts with the patient’s medical history and physical examination to diagnose the health condition. However, to determine if the health conditions causing the symptoms, the medical doctor might recommend

  • Urine or blood test
    Blood or urine tests help reveal the toxins signs or of other health conditions.
  • Electromyography
    Electromyography measures the electrical activity within the muscles.
  • CT scan or MRI
    CT scan or MRI are the imaging tests that can spot abnormalities in the brain like lesions, stroke evidence, or tumours.
  • Genetic Testing
    Some dystonia forms are associated with specific genes. Knowing whether such genes are present in the body can help guide the treatment.

Treatment of Dystonia

To manage the muscle contractions, the medical doctor might recommend a combination of medicines, therapy, or surgery.

Home remedies and Lifestyle

Though the disease has no cure, you can adopt several good routines to minimize the effects:

  • Stress management
    You gotta learn some practical coping skills to manage stress like deep breathing, positive self-talk, and social support.
  • Sensory tricks to diminish spasms
    Touching specific parts of the body may cause the spasms to stop temporarily.
  • Cold or heat
    Applying cold or heat can help lessen muscle pain.

Bottom Line!

Living with Dystonia can be frustrating and challenging, but you need to see a doctor to lessen the symptoms’ effects. If you are not much of a medicine taker, you must talk to your doctor to access some natural remedies to deal with the health condition.

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