April 12, 2011

What is Dystonia

Posted in Category : Natural Cures

What is dystonia? Dystonia is a medical condition where the muscles contract involuntarily. This causes an uncontrollable twisting of the affected body parts. Dystonia can affect all age groups, although it usually affects people in the age groups of 40-60 years. Dystonia is classified according to the underlying case. Primary dystonia is the case when the only symptom or sign is dystonia. After medical tests, no medical or neurological damage is identified and found to have been the cause of the dystonia. Secondary dystonia is when the symptoms of dystonia occur due to an underlying condition. This could be either an injury that affects the nervous system or neurological or genetic. Another answer to “what is dystonia” is that it is a condition that is differentiated depending on the type of body part it affects. Focal dystonia is where only one part of the body is affected while generalized dystonia is where both legs and other regions of the body are affected. Multifocal dystonia affects more than one unrelated body part while Hemidystonia affects the arm and leg on the same side of the body. Another type of dystonia is Segmental dystonia which affects adjacent body parts. Yet another solution to the answer of “what is dystonia” is that is can also be classified according to the age of onset. Early onset dystonia is when the symptoms of this disease appear during the first thirty years of a person’s life. These symptoms are usually noticed in a limb and gradually the dystonia spreads to other parts of the body as well. Late onset dystonia is when the symptoms appear in persons between the ages of 40-60 years. In these cases, most of the symptoms start in either the head or the neck or any one of the arms. The disease does not spread when there is a late onset of dystonia. Dystonia causes include such factors that are not specific in nature. Studies have shown that dystonia seems to be connected to a problem in the basal ganglia. The basal ganglia is an area in the brain that is responsible for initiating muscle contractions. Acquired dystonia occurs when the basal ganglia is damaged. The damage could be due to:-

  • Stroke
  • Drug reactions
  • A tumor
  • Deprivation of oxygen
  • Poisoning caused by carbon monoxide or lead
  • Brain trauma
  • Infection.

Now that we have the answers to “what is dystonia”, the next question is what the symptoms of dystonia are. Bear in mind that the symptoms can range from mild to severe. Some of the early symptoms of dystonia include:-

  • Cramping of the foot
  • Difficulties in speech
  • A dragging leg
  • Uncontrollable blinking
  • An involuntary pulling of the neck.

What then are dystonia cures? Due to advances in medical science, dystonia treatment has improved over the last few years. There are certain prescribed medications but they also come with side effects. Apart from medication, there are other options you can choose from as well. Physical therapy has been used in certain cases along with sensory tricks. If the above does not help surgery may be recommended. These surgeries include deep brain stimulation which is a kind of brain surgery and selective peripheral denervation. In this procedure, the doctor makes an incision in the person’s neck before cutting some of the nerve endings that are connected to the affected muscles. Some patients opt for alternative treatments for dystonia like yoga, meditation and acupuncture but the success of such treatments has not been verified as yet.