What Is Dystonia?

Dystonia is a neurological disorder that is characterized by involuntary muscle contractions that result in abnormal postures and repetitive movements – these out of control movements can also be painful. The causes of dystonia are not clear but research indicates that the neurological disorder stems from issues in the basal ganglia, which affects the ability of nerve cells to efficiently communicate.

Parts of the body that can be affected by dystonia include:

  • Arms & Legs
  • Hands & Feet
  • Face
  • Eyes (Eyelids)
  • Neck
  • Jaw
  • Vocal Chords

The most common body parts that are affected by the neurological disorder can present the signs and symptoms in various ways. Aside from abnormal body positioning and posture, other signs of dystonia include: speech difficulties, repetitive movements, uncontrollable blinking, and other actions that might appear involuntary. These symptoms may worse with activities that involve physical exertion or fine motor skills.

Diagnosing dystonia is not simple, considering that the symptoms are similar if not identical to other involuntary movements disorders like Tourettes or Chorea. In providing an accurate diagnosis of dystonia, environmental factors, family history, emotional and mental health are all factors that also need to be considered. There is currently no medicinal treatment or surgical procedures that can cure or treat dystonia, but at Broadview Spine & Health Centre, we offer a holistic treatment method for a variety of movement disorders.

A doctor at Broadview Health Centre using a model brain to explain Multiple Sclerosis to a patient


an asian woman suffering from myoclonus

What Is Myoclonus?

Myoclonus refers to involuntary rapid, jerking movements that suddenly occur without preemptive notice. Myoclonus is more commonly defined as muscle jerks (contraction of groups of muscles) and it is a clinical sign and not the disease itself. A common example of myoclonus is experiencing hiccups – and with all forms of myoclonus, the twitching cannot be stopped or controlled. It is almost always not severe enough that it needs medical attention, however, if the myoclonus is ongoing and frequently occurs, then is might be of some concern.

The symptoms experienced from a myoclonus are often described as:

  • Brief
  • Involuntary
  • Sudden
  • Shock-like
  • Jolting

While we don’t want to encourage self-diagnosis, the above signs and symptoms can help make sense of what you are experiencing with a myoclonus. Myoclonus can also vary significantly with intensity and frequency, can be localized or experienced throughout the whole body, and can often be severe enough to interfere with any type of every day task.

If you are experience myoclonus symptoms that are regularly occurring and for extended durations, it’s a good idea to see a professional to make a proper diagnosis and potential treatment plan – it’s important to diagnose properly as there are several movement disorders with similar symptoms. At Broadview Spine & Health Centre in Ottawa, we have the expertise and experience to correctly diagnose myoclonus and help in developing a treatment. If you are experience myoclonus that is impacting your every day life, contact us today to get the help you need!

The Connection

Dystonia, otherwise known as “Myoclonus-Dystonia” is the neurological movement disorder while myoclonus refers to the involuntary muscle jerking and twitching associated with dystonia.

Common forms of dystonia include cervical dystonia (dystonia of the neck), hand dystonia, (writer’s cramp), generalized dystonia (twisting of the limbs and torso). The causes of various forms of dystonia are unknown, but trauma, genetics, and reactions to certain medications can develop the onset of dystonia. People with myoclonus-dystonia often develop psychological disorders such as depression, anxiety, panic attacks, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). If you or a loved one is suffering from dystonia, contact us today to get help.

Myoclonus is not only specific to dystonia and can be linked to several other movements disorders. It can result from damage to the spinal cord or brain and has been linked to neurological disorders like Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease which affect motor neuron functioning. If you are suffering from Myoclonus, Broadview Health Centre’s Movement Disorders experts can help you, request an appointment today.

an elderly man smiling beside his caregiver

Frequently asked questions

Sustaining a single concussion, in many cases, results in a straight-forward recovery with few complications. However, for those who have suffered multiple concussions, especially when the original has not fully healed, the recovery time can grow exponentially. Take care during recovery as while you might feel better, the concussion could still need time to fully heal.

  • We utilize quantifiable concussion evaluation tools
  • We measure eye movements and balance
  • We take care to ensure your recovery is objective, not subjective

A major side effect from sustaining a concussion injury is cervicogenic pain or headaches, which is focused in the neck area. The challenge for doctors is neck pain does not always point to a problem within the neck, but could be a result of spine or eye misalignment.

  • Concussions cause eye misalignment, leading to head tilt
  • Neck pain is a flag for helping identify contributing issues
  • Our treatment is built to help protect your long-term recovery

A common symptom for those who have suffered concussions and experiencing symptoms of post-concussion syndrome includes fatigue. Fatigue can come from many different factors. However, concussions build fatigue symptoms on a cellular level from the damage sustained in a concussion, interrupting your body’s ability to build and use energy.

  • Fatigue from concussions is a result from calcium leaks
  • Other fatigue could stem from problems with thyroids or anemia
  • Fatigue problems can take some time to fully recover from

Post-concussion syndrome is a complex condition that requires a lot of care and time to fully recover from. You could experience significant fatigue, inability to effectively concentrate, headaches, poor balance, and loss of fine motor control. These and more are the result of concussion damage to three major areas in your body, which all require the care our clinic can provide:

  • Physical damage the cell wall of the brain
  • Damage to the motor systems of the eyes and balance
  • Cervucigenic symptoms such as pain in the neck

Broadview Health Centre offers specialized equipment and technology that helps us diagnose problems and treat them effectively in regards to concussions and other mild-traumatic brain injuries. These tools are a mix of physical tests and electrical monitors working in tandem to give evaluations of the body’s control over balance and motor control, giving us invaluable information on a patents condition by:

  • Evaluating the body’s ability to balance on flat and uneven surfaces
  • Balance when a patents head is turning in various directions
  • Building information on how a concussion effects an individual

Broadview Spine & Health Centre utilized state of the art diagnosis equipment to allow us to gain quality information on how to approach treatment to every patent’s unique symptoms. A Videonystagmography allows us to get a fine-tuned reading of eye movements on video and with graphical representation.

  • Helps us identify where damage is located in the brain
  • Helps develop a customized program for the patient
  • Provides conclusive evidence for brain injury symptoms

View our brain treatment options

Explore Treatments