What is Dystonia

Dystonia is an unusual movement disorder which causes the muscles of the patient to contract involuntarily and can force some regions of the body to an abnormal posture. The Dystonia can afford more pain as a result of abnormal posture. It is considered as a neurological movement disorder which can be caused due to hereditary or other factors such as physical suffering, lead poisoning, infections and side effect caused by using drugs. It can affect a single part or several areas of the body at once. Dystonia can mostly affect the people in the range of about 40-60 years and it can affect both men as well as women. It is also known to occur in children but the pattern is entirely different. If it develops in the childhood days it usually begins at the foot and then spreads to the entire body and if it affects the adult person then the disorder will be localized to that place alone.


Even though the causes for Dystonia is not completely known, but it recently found that this disorder is due to the damage caused to a particular part of the brain namely the basal ganglia. Basal ganglia constitutes to the deepest part of the human brain, which facilitate to regulate the involuntary and voluntary actions by controlling the muscle contraction in one’s body. The problem can be more concentrated to a specific part in basal ganglia called as globus pallidus. If this area of the brain does not function correctly then the control of another part of the brain called Thalamus is affected. The thalamus part of the brain is responsible for controlling the planning and execution of movements. As a result of this inappropriate muscles contract for a movement and hence the Dystonia occurs.


It can be classified based on the place affected. Generally recognized types of Dystonia are as follows

  • Generalized
  • Intermediate
  • Focal
  • Segmental Acute
  • Dystonic Reaction
  • Sexual


The symptoms usually vary according to the type of the Dystonia. The most common signs of Dystonia are as follows

  • Abnormal positioning
  • Muscle cramps or spasms
  • Continuous pain
  • Loss of precision muscle synchronization
  • Lip smacking
  • Trembling in the diaphragm during breathing
  • Need to put hands in pocket to diminish the pain


Treatment in case of Dystonia has been limited to diminishing the various symptoms that are caused by this disease. Diminishing the type of the movement that causes Dystonic pains afford some relief, physical rest, and moderate exercises. The occupational therapy can be used to treat this disease. The medicines like anti-Parkinson agents, diphenhydramine, and benzatropine are known to afford positive results.