About Dystonia

DYSTONIA EXPLAINED

What Exactly is Dystonia?

Dystonia is a little known neurological condition affecting the central nervous system and consists of a group of related movement disorders characterised by involuntary and prolonged, painful muscle contractions. Dystonia can affect virtually any part of the body and may be confined to just one area (focal dystonia) or extend to several different parts of the body (mulit-focal dystonia) or the whole body (generalised dystonia). Dystonia can be difficult to diagnose, since the symptoms are variable and can easily be confused with other types of illness. At least 1 in 2,000 people have been diagnosed with dystonia and this number is growing due to increased awareness of this condition. Dystonia is the most common neurological condition after Parkinson’s Disease. What are the Different Types of Dystonia?


There are different names for dystonia affecting different parts of the body:

  • Blepharospasm – affects the eyelids causing blinking, closure and functional blindness.
  • Spasmodic Torticollis – affects the neck causing twisting, turning and/or jerking.
  • Writer’s Cramp – affects the hands, fingers, wrist or arm.
  • Spasmodic Dysphonia – affects the larynx and speech.
  • Oromandibular Dystonia – affects the jaw, mouth and/or the tongue.
  • Hemi-Facial Spasm – affects one side of the face and one eyelid.
  • Hemi-Dystonia – affects an arm and leg on one side of the body.
  • Segmental Dystonia – affects two or more connected parts of the body.
  • Multi-Focal Dystonia – affects two or more non-connected parts of the body.
  • Generalised Dystonia – affects the whole body.
  • Myoclonic Dystonia – affects the body with sudden jerky movements.
  • Paroxysmal Dystonia – affects the body with sudden dystonic postures.
  • Dopa-Responsive Dystonia – affects the body but responds to dopamine.

Treatment Options for Dystonia

At present, a range of treatment options is available which can help to relieve the symptoms. The treatment offered will depend upon the type of dystonia in question and it’s degree of severity. The main treatment options are botulinum toxin injections, drugs and deep brain stimulation.

Is there a cure for Dystonia?

Unfortunately at the moment there is no cure for dystonia. However, if diagnosed and successfully managed with the correct treatment, the quality of life for people with the condition can be greatly improved.

Who can help me?

Action for Dystonia, Diagnosis, Education and Research (A.D.D.E.R.)

Kibblesworth Millennium Centre
Grange Terrace
Kibblesworth
Gateshead
NE11 0XN

Tel: 0191 492 2793
email address: office@actionfordystonia.co.uk
Website: www.actionfordystonia.co.uk