There are various conditions that may affect the movements or mobility. One of which is dystonia. This is a movement disorder wherein the muscles pact reluctantly, triggering twisting or repetitive movements. This condition is quite serious and needs a thorough understanding. This is why this article is here on the internet. This will let you understand more about the causes, symptoms, as well as the treatments for dystonia. Read on to know more.
What is Dystonia?
Dystonia is actually the general term for a much larger group of movement conditions, which vary in their own symptoms, progression, causes, as well as treatments. This particular group of neurological illnesses is characterized generally by the involuntary contractions of muscles. This forces the body into some abnormal and sometimes painful; movements or positions. Furthermore, the contraction in the muscles may be sustained or may come and go.
Moreover, the movements may have a pattern or may twist, or in various cases quivering or shaking. The condition may also occur may get worse when a certain individual attempts to do some voluntary action.
Furthermore, dystonia disrupts the ability of the nervous system to allow the brain, as well as the muscles to communicate well. The ability of the body to control the muscle movements is quite complicated and may involve various areas of the brain. Moreover, the particular area of the brain that is believed to be affected by the condition is the basal ganglia. This part of the brain is the deep region, which monitors the speed of the movement, as well as control the unnecessary movements.
Dystonia may affect one muscle, a group of muscles, or even the entire body. Furthermore, dystonia may affect about 1% of the total population. Additionally, women are way more prone to the condition than in men.
Types of Dystonia
Here are the types of dystonia:
- Hemi-dystonia: this mainly affects the arm and the legs on the same side of the body.
- Segmental dystonia: this involves the adjacent parts of the body.
- Multifocal dystonia: this affects more than one unconnected parts of the body.
- Focal dystonia: this affects just a certain part of the body.
- Generalized dystonia: this particular type of dystonia may affect most of or all of the parts of the body.
Causes of Dystonia
Most of the cases of the condition don’t actually have a certain cause. The condition may seem to be in connection with a particular problem in the basal ganglia. The problem here actually involves the way the nerve cells communicate with each other.
The developed dystonia is due to a damage to the basal ganglia. This particular damage can be a result of any of the following:
- Poisoning due to carbon monoxide or lead
- Drug reactions
- Deprivation of oxygen
- Brain trauma
Symptoms of Dystonia
The different symptoms of dystonia may range from very mild to severe. Furthermore, dystonia may also affect some different body parts. Some of its early symptoms include the following:
- Speech difficulties
- Uncontrollable blinking of the eyes
- Involuntary pulling of the neck
- Cramping of the feet
- Dragging feeling on the legs
Furthermore, stress or fatigue may also bring on some symptoms. It may also cause them to get worse. Those who have the condition may often complain about the pain and the exhaustion due to the constant muscle contractions.
Diagnosis of Dystonia
Here are some of the tests and procedures that may help in determining what type of dystonia do you have:
- Levodopa: when the symptoms improve in a rapid manner after taking this, your doctor will most likely to diagnose it as an early onset dystonia.
- MRI scan: this is beneficial in revealing a tumor or brain damage.
- Genetic test: this is beneficial in checking any faulty genes and rule out any other conditions.
- Urine and blood tests: these are beneficial in determining whether there are infections or toxins.
Treatments for Dystonia
Here are some of the most common treatments for dystonia:
- Muscle relaxants: these are commonly prescribed if some other treatments haven’t been effective. They are beneficial in raising the GABA levels. Furthermore, you can administer this treatment by mouth or by the use of injection.
- Anticholinergics: these certain medications are beneficial in blocking the release of acetylcholine, the neurotransmitter known to be the cause of muscle spasms in various types of dystonia. However, this is one of the treatments for dystonia that may not always work.
- Botulinum toxin: this is actually a powerful poison, which is safe when you administer it in very small doses. Furthermore, it is often used as a first-line treatment for various types of dystonia.
- Levodopa: those who have dopa-responsive type of dystonia, they are prescribed with this particular treatment. This is beneficial in raising the levels of dopamine. Furthermore, those who are taking this may initially experience nausea, thus easing and disappearing after the body gets familiar with the drug.