THE CONCUSSION BLOG

How Dystonia Affects People & How We Treat It

Dystonia is an unpleasant condition defined by involuntary muscle contractions that cause abnormal posture or slow repetitive movements.

Although some types of dystonia are genetic, the cause of the majority of forms is yet unknown.

In this article we'll look into more about this disorder as well as how we treat dystonia in Ottawa to help ease some of its symptoms.

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Dystonia: A Basic Overview of This Debilitating Condition

There are several different types of dystonia that may affect different parts of the body, from one muscle to a group of them.

Dystonia symptoms can include, but are not limited to, uncontrolled blinking, difficulties speaking, foot twisting, neck spasms and tremors.

person with dystoniaThe symptoms may be continuous or simply come and go, and can be triggered by stress or certain activities. 

Although dystonia is not a life-threatening condition, it can be extremely debilitating. Eventually, it can affect a patient’s mental wellbeing.

Even though remission happens only rarely, it is very important to monitor this condition in order to prevent further complications. 

How is Dystonia Diagnosed?

If your general practitioner thinks you might have dystonia, they may refer you to a neurologist in Ottawa for some tests.

To be able to determine if you suffer from this condition, a specialist will ask about your symptoms and your family medical history.  Additionally, he or she will carry out some blood and urine tests and arrange a brain scan.

If you are diagnosed with dystonia, you will be presented with the treatments that suit your needs best. 

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How is Dystonia Treated?

shaking hand of person with dystoniaAlthough dystonia is generally a lifelong condition, treatment can help make the day-to-day of the patients easier.

At Broadview Spine & Health Centre, we treat dystonia with speech therapy, physical therapy, stretching, massage and more. Although there are medical and surgical options for this condition, we prefer to take a holistic approach to treating movement disorders. 

Recent studies have revealed that people who suffer from dystonia experience a range of functional deficits that reduce quality of life and engagement in daily activities.

These findings support the need for a holistic approach to the rehabilitation of this disorder that takes into consideration the entire physical and emotional wellbeing of the patient instead of just the part affected with dystonia. 

The Holistic Approach to Treating Dystonia in Ottawa

woman with dystonia at homeThere is significant disability associated with dystonia due to pain and impairment, which affects participation in daily activities, employment and self-confidence.

Fortunately, this can be addressed with therapy. Several small-scale studies have investigated the potential of non-pharmacological strategies with positive results. 

The holistic concept in medicine upholds that all aspects of people’s needs (physical, psychological and social) should be understood as a whole. According to the American Holistic Medical Association, the spiritual element should also be taken into account when assessing a patient’s overall wellbeing. 

At our clinic in Ottawa, we look at our patients’ medical records, family history, mental and emotional health, environmental factors and much more. Rather than focusing on dystonia and its symptoms, we consider the whole person and the relationship with his or her environment

Our ultimate goal is to raise awareness of dystonia and work together with other medical professionals to implement effective treatments that make the lives of our patients easier. 

Contact us to find out more about treating dystonia in Ottawa, and to book your first appointment at our clinic.