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Dystonia is a neurological movement disorder in which sustained muscle contractions cause twisting and repetitive movements or abnormal postures. The movements may resemble a tremor. Dystonia is often initiated or worsened by voluntary movements, and symptoms may “overflow” into adjacent muscles. The disorder may be hereditary or caused by other factors such as birth-related or other physical trauma, infection, poisoning (e.g., lead poisoning) or reaction to pharmaceutical drugs, particularly neuroleptics. Treatment must be highly customized to the needs of the individual and may include oral medications, botulinum neurotoxin injections, physical therapy and/or other supportive therapies, and/or surgical procedures such as deep brain stimulation.
Symptoms vary according to the kind of dystonia involved. In most cases, dystonia tends to lead to abnormal posturing, in particular on movement. Many sufferers have continuous pain, cramping, and relentless muscle spasms due to involuntary muscle movements. Other motor symptoms are possible including lip smacking. Hyperglycemia-induced involuntary movements, which, in this case, did not consist of typical hemiballismus but rather of hemichorea (dance-like movements of one side of the body; initial movements of the right arm in the video) and bilateral dystonia (slow muscle contraction in legs, chest, and right arm) in a 62-year-old Japanese woman with type 1 diabetes.
Reducing the types of movements that trigger or worsen dystonic symptoms provides some relief, as does reducing stress, getting plenty of rest, moderate exercise, and relaxation techniques. Various treatments focus on sedating brain functions or blocking nerve communications with the muscles via drugs, neuro-suppression, or denervation. All current treatments have negative side-effects and risks. The treatments include: Physical intervention, Medication and Surgery.