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
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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