Dystonia is a movement disorder characterized by involuntary muscle contractions that cause slow, repetitive movements or abnormal postures. It can affect the neck (cervical dystonia), eyelids (blepharospasm), jaw or tongue, voice box and vocal cords (spasmodic), hands, or forearm.

Symptoms of dystonia affect individuals differently and vary in degrees of disability ranging from mild and intermittent to severe and debilitating. Often becoming more noticeable over time, a patient diagnosed with dystonia typically experiences symptoms that interfere with their ability to perform activities of daily living.

Initial symptoms can be mild and only noticeable after prolonged exertion, fatigue, or stress. Over time the involuntary movements may become more prominent or widespread affecting multiple areas of the body. Symptoms of dystonia can also be an indication of another disease or condition including Parkinson’s Disease, stroke, or traumatic brain injury.


Symptoms can include but are not limited to:


Diagnosing and treating Dystonia varies because of the varying symptoms, causes, and stages of progression person to person. The first step in evaluating for any form of Dystonia is by having a neurological exam in which you and a provider will review your medical history, including past and current medications, family history, and symptoms. A physical exam will also be conducted during your exam to test certain reflexes and muscle response.

In addition to your exam, your provider may request that you undergo further diagnostic testing which can include radiology imaging such as an MRI or CT scan, EMG/nerve conduction testing, and bloodwork.