In dystonia, muscles contract involuntarily — causing uncontrollable repetitive or twisting movements of the affected body part. Symptoms may be mild or severe, and may interfere with performance of many day-to-day tasks. Doctors divide dystonia into categories including generalized, focal and segmental and other less common categories. In focal dystonia, the most common category, one part of body is affected. Generalized dystonia affects most or all of body. In segmental dystonia, two or more adjacent areas of body are affected. Some types of dystonia are inherited. Medications can sometimes improve dystonia symptoms, but inconsistently. In some more-severe cases, surgery may be used to disable or regulate certain brain regions or nerves.
Dystonia can't be cured, but doctors can provide you with several treatments to improve some of symptoms. Medications Botulinum toxin type A. Botulinum toxin type A (Botox) injections into specific muscles may reduce or eliminate muscle contractions and improve abnormal postures. You'll need injections about every three months. You may experience mild side effects including neck weakness, dry mouth or voice changes. Oral medications: Some forms of early-onset dystonia respond to levodopa and carbidopa (Parcopa, Sinemet) — a medication combination that increases brain dopamine, a neurotransmitter involved with muscle movement. Tetrabenazine (Xenazine), a drug to block dopamine, also may help some people with dystonia. You may experience side effects including sedation, nervousness, depression or insomnia. Other medications, including trihexyphenidyl and benztropine, may improve symptoms by acting on other neurotransmitters. These medications may cause side effects including memory loss, blurred vision, drowsiness, dry mouth and constipation. Other medications that act on neurotransmitters, including diazepam (Valium), clonazepam (Klonopin), lorazepam (Ativan), baclofen (Lioresal), may help some forms of dystonia. These medications may cause side effects, such as drowsiness.
Physical therapy or other therapies may help improve symptoms. Speech therapy: If voice is affected by dystonia, speech therapy may be helpful. Sensory trick: A sensory trick, which involves touching affected body part, such as face, may help reduce contractions. Surgical procedures Deep brain stimulation: In deep brain stimulation, surgeons implant electrodes into a specific part of brain. The electrodes are connected to a generator implanted in chest that sends electrical pulses to brain and may help control muscle contractions. Doctor may adjust settings as necessary to treat condition. surgery may involve risks, including infections, stroke-like problems and speech difficulties. Surgery: Surgery rarely may be an option to treat some types of dystonia which haven't been successfully treated using other therapies.