Dystonia is a movement disorder that impacts approximately 1% of the population. Marked by uncontrollable muscle contractions, dystonia causes the impacted part of the body to twist or contort involuntarily, with patterns that often resemble tremors. If you or a loved one is suffering from dystonia, understanding some of the causes, symptoms, and treatments of this disorder can play a vital role in how you manage life with this condition.
Acquired And Idiopathic Causes Of Dystonia
There are several identified variations of dystonia. While it may be tough to determine a specific cause of dystonia in an individual, many health care professionals believe the condition results from an issue in the basal ganglia, the region in the brain that triggers muscle contractions. Acquired dystonia can occur due to unexpected damage to the basal ganglia that impedes communication from the brain to the nerves. Some medical events that may cause dystonia include:
- Oxygen deprivation
- Brain trauma
- Poisoning (carbon monoxide or lead)
- Drug reaction
- And more…
Not every case of dystonia is acquired. Some patients can present symptoms that are idiopathic (of unknown origin). Another possibility is primary dystonia, which is passed from parent to child. Symptoms of dystonia can vary greatly between family members and some genetic carriers may never actually develop the disorder themselves.
Common Symptoms Of Dystonia
While every dystonia case is different, the condition is often characterized by several specific symptoms that can target different body parts in each person and range from mild to severe. Some of dystonia’s early symptoms may include:
- Face spasms
- Foot cramps
- Jerky head movements
- Hand fatigue
- Uncontrollable blinking
- Stiff neck
- Speech difficulties
Stress, anxiety, and fatigue can heighten the severity and number of dystonia symptoms. Additionally, symptoms of the disorder may go through stages, getting progressively more significant as time passes.
Chiropractic Treatment For Dystonia
While there is currently no cure, there are many treatment approaches for dystonia. Prescribed medication, physical therapy, speech therapy, and stress management practices can all be used to minimize and treat the symptoms of the disorder. Many patients find that a chiropractic neurologist can also help reduce the pain and discomfort of dystonia, particularly those suffering from cervical dystonia. A qualified chiropractic neurologist works with patients on an individual basis to determine signal disruption between the brain and nerve cells. The chiropractic neurologist will create a customized treatment plan that realigns and retrains muscles to help better a patient’s communication and control.