Dystonia: What is It and How Can You Treat it?

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Dystonia

Dystonia may affect one or more parts of the body and sometimes the entire body. The condition can be mild or severe.

The main symptom is involuntary muscle contractions that result in slow repetitive movements, cramps or abnormal posture.

In this article Dr. Gurneet Sawhney, one of the best neurosurgeon in Mumbai, will discuss the causes, symptoms , and treatment for dystonia

What is Dystonia?

Dystonia is a neurological condition that causes muscles to spasm involuntarily. These contractions can make it extremely hard to move and may also cause an individual to hold their body in an uncomfortable position for extended periods of time. 

Those who live with dystonia on a regular basis may find it extremely difficult to go about their day-to-day activities. Not only can this condition be painful, but it can also be very embarrassing. It’s not uncommon for those who have dystonia to feel like they have no control over their own bodies.

Fortunately, there are many different treatments available for dystonia that can help reduce its symptoms and improve your quality of life.

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Causes of Dystonia

Researchers are still trying to determine exactly what causes dystonia, but there are a few general theories. One common theory is that a brain injury or malfunction may trigger dystonia in some individuals.

For others, a genetic mutation may cause dystonia. Whatever the cause, it’s important for people with dystonia to seek treatment as soon as possible so that their symptoms don’t worsen over time. In addition to causing pain and discomfort, dystonia may also make it difficult for people to go about their day-to-day lives. This can lead to feelings of depression and isolation.

Fortunately, dystonia can be treated with a variety of different medications, physical therapy exercises, and other treatments that can help reduce symptoms and improve quality of life

Symptoms of Dystonia

Not all people who suffer from dystonia experience the same symptoms. In fact, the severity of symptoms and the specific symptoms experienced can vary widely from person to person.

In general, people who have dystonia may experience a wide range of symptoms, including: 

Abnormal postures or positions of the limbs or head:

This is one of the most common symptoms of dystonia. Affected individuals may find that their limbs or entire body is involuntarily bent or contorted in an awkward position. The severity of this symptom can range from mild to extreme.

  • Pain: Muscle spasms can cause significant pain in some people.
  • Excessive fatigue:  Many people who have dystonia find that their symptoms worsen when they are tired.
  • Difficulty doing daily tasks: Some people who suffer from dystonia may find that it’s extremely difficult to perform tasks that require fine motor skills, such as writing, typing, or playing an instrument.
  • Difficulty with social interactions: People who have dystonia may find that it’s hard to hold a conversation, shake someone’s hand, or participate in a group setting. They may also find that their facial expressions are distorted or that they have difficulty moving their head and neck.  
  • Distorted facial expressions: This is a common symptom of dystonia in people who have trouble moving their face, such as those who have had brain surgery.
  • Impaired speech: Some people who have dystonia may find that their speech is slurred or their mouth is twisted in an awkward position. 

Treating Dystonia at Home

Since there isn’t a specific cure for dystonia, many people who have this condition need to manage it with a combination of treatments. This can include medications, physical therapy exercises, and other self-help strategies.

  • Medication: Some people with dystonia may benefit from certain medications designed to reduce symptoms. These medications can be taken by mouth or injected into the spinal fluid. – Physical therapy. Physical therapists may use exercises and stretches to help strengthen weakened muscles and improve range of motion.
  • Bracing: For people who experience severe dystonia in their arms and hands, a hand splint or other type of brace may help reduce symptoms. 
  • Modifying daily activities: If you find that dystonia makes it difficult to perform daily tasks, you can try to modify your routine so that you have less to do. For example, if you have a hard time typing or writing, you can ask your professor to email you assignments or have them put them on a course management website.

Treating Dystonia Through Therapy

People who have dystonia may also benefit from various types of therapy.

These include: 

  • Occupational therapy: During this type of therapy, therapists may help you come up with ways to modify your daily activities and make them easier to perform. They may also teach you how to use assistive devices to reduce the strain on your body.
  •  Psychotherapy: This type of therapy can help people with dystonia cope with feelings of shame, isolation, and depression. 
  • Physical therapy: This type of therapy can help people with dystonia improve their strength, range of motion, and overall fitness.
  •  Botox injections: Some people with dystonia may benefit from injections of botulinum toxin, more commonly known as Botox. During this procedure, a doctor injects a weakened form of the botulinum toxin into specific muscles. This treatment can help relax overactive muscles and reduce dystonia symptoms.

Conclusion

Dystonia is a neurological condition that causes muscles to spasm involuntarily. These contractions can make it extremely hard to move and may also cause an individual to hold their body in an uncomfortable position for extended periods of time. Not only can this condition be painful, but it can also be very embarrassing. It’s not uncommon for those who have dystonia to feel like they have no control over their own bodies. 

Dr. Gurneet Sawhney, one of the best neurosurgeon in Mumbai, says that, fortunately, there are many different treatments available for dystonia that can help reduce its symptoms and improve your quality of life. 

When living with dystonia, it’s important to understand that you aren’t alone. There are many different treatments available for dystonia that can help reduce its symptoms and improve your quality of life. With proper treatment, you can reduce your symptoms and go about your day-to-day activities as normally as possible

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