Dystonia is a neurological movement disorder that causes muscles in the body to contract or spasm involuntarily. The involuntary muscle contractions cause twisting, repetitive and patterned movements as well as abnormal postures.
Dystonia is not a single disease but a syndrome — a set of symptoms that cannot be attributed to a single cause but share common elements. Some forms of Dystonia may affect a specific body area, such as the neck, face, jaw, eyes, limbs or vocal cords.
Dystonia affects men, women and children of all ages and backgrounds. It can develop in childhood and is often particularly disabling for children. Dystonia may be genetic or caused by factors such as physical trauma, exposure to certain medications, or other neurological conditions. The causes of Dystonia are not yet fully understood, but it is thought that it may be caused by a chemical imbalance in a particular area of the brain called the basal ganglia where the messages to initiate muscle contractions are believed to originate.
The basal ganglia are structures deep in the brain that are in part responsible for controlling movement. They regulate the numerous muscle contractions that are necessary to move the body. If this part of the brain is damaged in some way, the wrong muscles contract when we try to move. Or the muscles contract unnecessarily even when we are immobile, causing uncontrollable twitching, tremors and contractions.
These spasms are known as dystonic movements. Some dystonia patients may have suffered from an illness or injury which has damaged the basal ganglia, but in the majority of cases the underlying cause of the condition is unknown. If no cause can be pinpointed, the dystonia is said to be idiopathic.
Depending upon the type of dystonia, the specialist may decide to carry out blood tests or scans in an attempt to determine the cause.
If only one part of the body is affected, such as the eyes, neck, a limb, or the voice, it is called Focal Dystonia. If a larger region such as the neck and arms is involved, it is called Segmental Dystonia.
If the spasms affect the arm Info on facial dystonia leg on the same side it Info on facial dystonia known as Hemidystonia.
If two or more unrelated parts of the body are affected it is named Multifocal Dystonia. Finally, if the Dystonia is more widespread, the term generalised Dystonia is used. It was Info on facial dystonia half-way through the last century that dystonia was recognised as a physical organic condition, and different forms were identified as manifestations of the same illness. In spite of this, dystonia often remains often misunderstood, misdiagnosed and therefore mismanaged.
Research from the United States indicates that dystonia is as common as multiple sclerosis in certain areas of the world including parts of the Australia.
However, there is little literature that provides adequate information about dystonia or explains its effects on those who live with the condition. Cervical Dystonia, often referred to as spasmodic torticollis, is a particular type of Info on facial dystonia dystonia that affects the muscles of the neck.
The muscle spasms can be painful and cause the neck to twist to one side torticollisforward anterocollisor backward retrocollis. The neck may pull, turn or jerk; it may be held persistently in one direction.
Click here for more information. This is a condition where the eyelid muscles spasm, causing the eyelids to close suddenly without warning.
The individual has difficulty opening them again and, if severe, can lead to problems with sight although vision is not affected. Blepharospasm is often aggravated by sunlight.
Oromandibular Dystonia can affect the face, tongue, palate and jaw and presents with abnormal mouth or tongue movements, grimacing or forced opening or closing of the mouth.
A more correct term for this type of dystonia is Forearm Dystonia, as the muscles of the forearm are responsible for the cramping of the fingers as well as the hand muscles.
Musicians using a range of instruments, are prone to this disorder, as are some people who perform complex repetitive tasks. This is a difficult dystonia to treat as there may be many small muscles in the hand and forearm involved.
Individuals may choose to learn to use their non-dominant hand. Spasmodic Dysphonia, sometimes known as Laryngeal Dystonia, is a rare voice disorder.
Overactive movement of the muscles of the larynx excessive closure or opening of the vocal cords occurs during specific vocal activities such as speaking but not during laughing or yawning. The voice may be strained and effortful with sudden interruptions causing Info on facial dystonia loss of voice.
Dysphonia can be seen with other focal dystonias such as oromandibular dystonia and blepharospasm. There is a lot of strain put on the unaffected muscles. Generalised Dystonia is a rare form of dystonia which is seen more often in children than in adults. It is generally a severe disability, affecting areas of the body. Generalised dystonia often starts in a lower limb then Info on facial dystonia to other areas such as the neck, limbs and trunk. People with generalised dystonia often have a genetic basis for their disease.
Dopa-responsive Dystonia DRD is a broad term used to describe cases of Dystonia that respond dramatically to low doses of a medication called levodopa.
Dopa-responsive Dystonia usually starts in childhood or adolescence with progressive difficulty in walking. It may be misdiagnosed as cerebral palsy or parkinsonism. Several genes have been associated with Dopa-responsive Dystonia.
Myoclonic Dystonia hereditary essential myoclonusoften mistaken Info on facial dystonia essential tremor, is characterized by rapid jerking movements alone or in combination with the sustained muscular contractions and postures of dystonia.
The symptom distribution of myoclonic dystonia is different from typical early-onset dystonia as it more often affects the upper body whereas typical early-onset dystonia usually affects the legs. A gene associated with myoclonus dystonia has been identified. Rapid-onset dystonia-parkinsonism RDP is characterised by the abrupt onset of slowness of movement parkinsonism and dystonic symptoms. The classic features of RDP include involuntary dystonic spasms in the limbs, prominent involvement of the speech and swallowing muscles, slowness of movement and poor balance.
Onset of the combined dystonic and parkinsonian symptoms can be sudden, occurring over hours to days. RDP usually occurs in adolescence or young adulthood age range 15 to Paroxysmal Dystonia and Dyskinesias PDD are a group of disorders in which the patient experiences relatively brief episodes of abnormal movements and postures with a return to normal posture between episodes.
Some forms of PDD are genetic. X-linked dystonia-parkinsonism Lubag is a form of dystonia found almost exclusively among men originally from the Philippine island of Panay.
Female family members are carriers of the gene. X-linked dystonia-parkinsonism usually begins focally, generalises, and may be replaced by parkinsonian Info on facial dystonia.
In this type of Dystonia, the symptoms are due to small areas of brain damage. The dystonia is segmental, generalised or hemidystonia. The damage can be caused by reduced oxygen around the time of birth or in utero cerebral palsyby other injury to the brain, small strokes or tumours. Secondary dystonia usually results from apparent outside factors such as exposure to certain medications, trauma, toxins or infections. Drugs frequently cause movement disorders. Often, those affected, experience an acute dystonic reaction after a single exposure to a drug.
The symptoms are usually short-lived and may be treated successfully with medication. Dystonic reactions to metoclopramide dydrochloride Maxolon and prochlorperazine maleate Stemetil are particularly common in young people. Acute dystonic reactions can often be dramatic in presentation. Sometimes they can be so severe, they warrant life-saving measures.
This usually occurs when the laryngeal muscles are involved and respiratory difficulties are experienced. Tardive dystonia and tardive dyskinesias are neurologic syndromes caused by exposure to certain drugs called neuroleptics. Neuroleptic drugs Info on facial dystonia used to treat certain movement disorders, psychiatric disorders, and some gastric conditions.
Dystonic postures and movements may present soon after the person has initiated neuroleptic Info on facial dystonia but may also be delayed by days or weeks. Movements can vary from brief jerks to prolonged Info on facial dystonia spasms often involving the eyes, mouth, throat and neck. Dystonic symptoms typically occur between hours after the first drug dose is administered. Signs may persist for hours or even days and the intensity of the symptoms vary.
The way the drug affects a person is often age-related. Children may develop spasms involving the trunk and extremities, where as adults tend to develop dystonic spasms in the face, neck and upper extremities. These spasms and postures can come on abruptly, are often painful and may change in their distribution, affecting different body parts at different times. Tardive dystonias are often very difficult to treat and can persist long-term.
The link between trauma and dystonia Info on facial dystonia not yet fully understood. It appears from published studies that persons who are carriers of a gene for dystonia may be more likely to have trauma as a triggering factor for Info on facial dystonia development of dystonia.
A number of uncommon toxins are capable of causing brain damage centred in the motor control region known as the basal ganglia.