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South Valley Neurology

Neurologists & Pediatric Neurologists located in Morgan Hill, CA

Dystonia is a relatively rare movement disorder that affects about 250,000 Americans. There are several types of dystonia, but all forms trigger involuntary muscle spasms that affect your quality of life. At South Valley Neurology, the team of experienced neurologists provides comprehensive care for dystonia, including minimally invasive treatment with Botox®. Learn more about the treatment options for dystonia by  contacting South Valley Neurology in Morgan Hill, CA.

Dystonia Q & A

What is dystonia?

Dystonia is a medical condition characterized by involuntary muscle spasms. These spasms frequently occur, causing your muscles to contract and twitch repetitively.

Dystonia affects everyone differently. For some people, it only occurs in one part of the body; but it happens all over for others. Muscle spasms range in severity from incredibly painful to mild. Depending on the type of dystonia you have, it might even interfere with your ability to exercise or work.

What are the symptoms of dystonia?

People with dystonia experience muscle contractions that:

  • Begin in a specific area, like your arm, leg, or back
  • Worsen during stress, fatigue, or anxiety
  • Become worse over time
  • Occur during particular activities, like using hand tools

If you regularly experience muscle spasms and they affect your ability to work or perform other normal activities, contact South Valley Neurology right away.

What are the types of dystonia?

The team at South Valley Neurology treats various types of dystonia, including:

  • Blepharospasm (rapid blinking or involuntary spasms of the eyelids)
  • Cervical dystonia (involuntary spasms of the muscles in your neck)
  • Functional dystonia (involuntary twisting of your limbs or joints)
  • Generalized dystonia (spasms that affect muscle groups throughout your body)
  • Myoclonus dystonia (a type of dystonia that affects the trunk and upper limbs)
  • Oromandibular dystonia (causes slurred speech, drooling, and difficulty swallowing)

After an exam and a discussion of your symptoms, the team can determine the type of dystonia you have.

What causes dystonia?

It’s thought that dystonia occurs because of altered communication between your nerve cells and specific regions of your brain. Dystonia might also occur because of an underlying medical condition, like Parkinson’s disease, an infection, or a traumatic brain injury.

How is dystonia diagnosed?

To diagnose dystonia, your provider at South Valley Neurology reviews your medical records and asks about your symptoms. They also order a series of tests, including blood work, urinalysis, and electromyography. If your provider suspects an underlying neurological issue, they might also order an MRI to look for tumors, lesions, or evidence of a stroke.

How is dystonia treated?

Treatment of dystonia depends on various factors, including the type of dystonia, the severity of your symptoms, and their impact on your quality of life. Usually, the team at South Valley Neurology recommends a combination of healthy lifestyle changes, prescription medication, and therapy.  

Your provider might suggest:

  • Botox® injections (to reduce or eliminate muscle contractions)
  • Prescription dopamine blockers
  • Medications that reduce neurotransmission
  • Medications that enhance dopamine production
  • Physical therapy
  • Speech therapy
  • Stretching and massage

If your symptoms don’t respond to these treatments, the team might recommend deep brain stimulation or surgery.

To explore the treatment options for dystonia, make an appointment at South Valley Neurology by calling the office  today.