Dystonia is a neurological movement disorder that causes involuntary movement of the muscles or groups of muscles.   Dystonia is not a single disease and often is treated differently based on which form a patient has. There are many forms of Dystonia and some forms are described by more than one different name which is often times confusing to both the patient and their doctor.


There are two groups of Dystonia.


The first group is called Primary Dystonia. Primary Dystonia is the truest of all Dystonias. No one knows the specific cause of this Dystonia although it is connected to a hereditary gene in some patients. Primary Dystonia is divided into different forms based on the parts of the body that are affected.


Secondary Dystonia is mostly associated with trauma caused by such things as drug exposure, stroke, cerebral palsy, etc. This group can be difficult to diagnose because many different things can cause Dystonia-like symptoms.


The author severely herniated a disk many years ago and it aggravated his Dystonia condition. He discovered quite by accident that his back and right leg would seize up when he tried walking. It resembled the locking up of muscle or the tightening of muscle as a result of the herniated disk. The disease causes opposing muscles to often contract simultaneously as if they are “competing” for control of a body part.


These involuntary muscle contractions force the body into repetitive and often twisting movements as well as awkward, irregular postures.   Dystonia may affect a single body area or be generalized throughout multiple muscle groups. Dystonia affects men, women, and children of all ages and backgrounds. Estimates suggest that no less than 300,000 people in North America are affected. Dystonia causes varying degrees of disability and pain, from mild to severe. There is presently no cure, but multiple treatment options exist and scientists around the world are actively pursuing research toward new therapies.


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