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What is Dystonia?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 21 August 2014
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Dystonia is a disorder that impacts the ability to control the motion and function of muscles in the body. Often, the condition is manifested by abrupt movements that involve twisting and continued repetition, as well as the inability to sit in a normal position. There are several different types of dystonia; some are associated with the conditions in place at the time of birth, while others are more closely associated with some type of health crisis later in life.

Symptoms of this type of movement disorder may appear to be slight at first, then become more pronounced at the condition worsens. In adults, one of the first signs involves the hands. The ability to write legibly may decrease as it becomes more difficult to maintain a firm grip on a pencil or pen. At the same time, it may become more difficult to hold plates, books, or other items with the hands. As the dystonia progresses, the individual will drop items more frequently and find that he or she has little control over the normal function of the muscles in the hands.

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In a short period of time, dystonia will trigger pain in the various muscle groups. At first, the individual may experience short bursts of pain when performing everyday tasks. These short bursts soon move on to include cramping in the hands and legs, and a general inability to find a comfortable position when sitting or resting in bed. The diaphragm may begin to experience spasms when the individual takes a breath, followed by muscular contractions in the jaw and other muscle groups around the body.

As the neurological condition worsens, the symptoms begin to impact the body and mind in other ways. Depression and anxiety may develop, punctuated by periods of extreme moodiness and irritability. Sleep time is shortened, and often interrupted by sudden torsion in one part of the body or another. Even the ability to think clearly may begin to slip away, along with the onset of blurred vision.

Treating torsion dystonia and other forms of the ailment involves identifying the root cause for the condition. Should the physician find that medication is the reason for the development of dystonia, changing medications may be enough to weaken and finally eliminate the symptoms. In the event that the condition was triggered by some type of physical trauma, engaging in a combination of drugs and therapy may help to bring the symptoms under control. When the disease is determined to have originated at birth, it may be necessary to utilize anti-seizure medication or other drugs that help to inhibit the production of specific neurotransmitters in the brain.

It is important to note that treatments that work for one form of dystonia may actually make other types of the condition worse. For this reason, it is important to discuss any course of treatment such as herbal remedies or exercises with a qualified physician before attempting to deal with dystonia on your own.

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kiwimaureen
Post 1

I have cervical dystonia. I claim it was bought about by a doctor who wrenched my neck around when my mum took me to see him when I had a stiff neck at aged 14.

The medical fraternity and A.C.C in New Zealand disagree. There are no other factors contributing to this condition. I have also had blood tests and a brain MRI to rule out underlying causes.

Is there anyone out there who has this condition which, as diagnosed by a doctor to say so, was bought on by trauma?

I feel I am owed financially for this incurable and horrendous condition that I am now stuck with for the rest of my life.

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