Dystonia Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

A patient with dystonia receiving a massage

Causes of dystonia are not entirely clear. Dystonia is said to be related to an issue in the basal ganglia affecting the way the nerve cells communicate. Signs & symptoms of dystonia include flexed body part(s) in an abnormal position; repetitive body movement patterns; dragging leg; foot cramping; uncontrollable blinking; speech difficulties; and other motions that appear involuntary. These symptoms may worsen or be brought on by physical activity such as writing or playing a musical instrument.

Dystonia is not an easy diagnosis, as many of its symptoms mimic other disorders such as Tourette syndrome, chorea, spasticity, etc. We look at patient history, family history, environmental factors, mental & emotional health and much more. Treatment options include physical therapy, speech therapy, stretching, massage and more. There are also surgical and medical treatment options for dystonia, but at Broadview Spine & Health Centre in Ottawa, we prefer to take a holistic approach to treating movement disorders such as dystonia.

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