Dystonia is a medical termfor a range of movement disorders that cause muscle spasms and contractions.
The spasms and contractions may either be sustained or may come and go.
Movementsareoftenrepetitive and cause unusual, awkward and sometimes painful postures. Tremor (shaking) can also be a characteristic of some types of dystonia.
Dystonia is thought to be a neurological condition (caused by underlying problems with the brain and nervous system). However,in most cases, brain functions such as intelligence, memory and language remain unaffected.
Dystonia can affect only one muscle or a group of muscles. There are five main types of dystonia:
About 90% of all cases are either cervical dystonia (which affects the neck muscles) or blepharospasm (which affects the eyelids). These are both focal dystonias that tend to develop later in life. They dont usually get any worse and no other muscles are affected.
Common causes include stroke , brain injury , encephalitis and Parkinsons disease .
The type of dystonia is then classified by which area of the body is affected.
When diagnosing dystonia, it's important to confirm whether you have primary or secondary dystonia, because this may determine the type of treatment you need.
If you have typical signs of late-onset focal dystonia, specific investigations may not be required. However, tests may be needed to confirm whether you have primary or secondary dystonia. These may include brain scans, urine or blood tests , and genetic testing .
However, the four main types of treatment are:
It tends to progress slowly and the severity of a person's symptoms can vary from one day to another.
Focal dystonia usually progresses gradually over a period of aboutfive years and then doesn't get any worse.
Sometimes, a person's symptoms improve or disappear completely.This is known as totalremission and it's thought to occur in around 5-10% of people.
Total remission is more likely in cases of secondary dystonia, such as dystonia that occurs after a stroke . If someone has another underlying condition, such as Parkinsons disease , thesymptoms of dystonia are more likely to last for the rest of their lives.
Dystonia is generally uncommon, althoughit's one of the more common neurological conditions.
Dystonia canaffect men, women and children. It can be difficult to diagnose, and there may be many people with thecondition who remain undiagnosed.
The Dystonia Society estimates that at least 70,000 people are affected by dystonia in the UK. At least 8,000 of theseare children and young people.
Dystonia is a medical term for a range of movement disorders that cause muscle spasms and contractions. The spasms and contractions may either be sustained or may come and go.
The symptoms of dystonia can vary, depending on the type of dystonia and when it develops.
Dystonia with no obvious cause, or caused by a genetic mutation, is known as primary dystonia. If dystonia is a symptom of another condition, it's known as secondary dystonia.
Diagnosing dystonia isn't straightforward. It involves using a stepwise approach that starts by identifying the precise nature and specific features of your movement disorders.
A number of treatment techniques can be used to help control the involuntary movements and spasms of dystonia.