Dy stonia is a disorder that causes muscles to move on their own involuntarily. As a result of this muscle movement, dystonia sufferers have an abnormal posture and experience tremors. Dystonia can occur in any part of the body to the whole body.

People with dystonia will make involuntary movements that are fast, jerky, or slow, sometimes even their movements resemble tremors. This movement occurs repeatedly and has the same pattern.


Dystonia or dystonia is a very rare disease. This condition is experienced by 1% of the world's population, with more women than men.

Causes of Dystonia

The cause of dystonia is still unknown. However, this condition is thought to be related to changes or disorders in the brain's nerve cells.

Dystonia can also be caused by other diseases, such as:

  • Parkinson's disease
  • Huntington's disease
  • Wilson 's disease
  • Brain injury due to impact or accident
  • Brain injury in babies due to childbirth
  • Carbon monoxide or heavy metal poisoning
  • Brain tumor
  • Infections, such as encephalitis
  • Strokes
  • Certain drug reactions, such as antipsychotic or anti-nausea medications
  • Genetic disorders

Dystonic Symptoms

Dystonia is characterized by abnormal movements that occur suddenly and are sometimes accompanied by pain. People with dystonia can do one type of movement, such as a downward motion, or perform several combinations of movements.

Symptoms of dystonia can start in the neck, arms or face. These symptoms will get worse over time, and may be exacerbated by fatigue, stress, or anxiety.

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

  • Head and neck
    Patients can make circular movements or random movements such as forward, backward, or sideways right and left. Abnormal movements in the head are usually accompanied by pain.
  • Eyelid
    dystonia can cause the eyelids to blink more rapidly or to close tightly involuntarily ( blepharospasm ). This blinking is not accompanied by pain, but will occur more frequently when experiencing stress, interacting with people, or in a room with bright lights.
  • Jaw or tongue
    Dystonia of the jaw or tongue can cause speech to be slurred or even difficult to speak. Sufferers can also salivate, and have difficulty chewing or swallowing.
  • Vocal cords
    The vocal cords affected by dystonia will change the voice to a loud or low whisper.
  • Hands
    Some types of dystonia occur when the hands perform repetitive activities, such as writing or playing a musical instrument.

When to see a doctor

The early symptoms of dystonia are often mild, but they shouldn't be ignored. Immediately do an examination to the doctor if the body moves unnaturally and unintentionally. It should be noted, the symptoms of dystonia will get worse over time.

Diagnostics of Dystonia

The doctor will ask questions about the symptoms you feel and your family history of dystonia. After that, the patient will be advised to undergo the following examinations:

  • Blood and urine tests, to detect infections or toxic substances in the patient's body, as well as to assess overall organ function
  • Scans, such as a brain MRI, to check for abnormalities in the brain, such as a stroke or tumor
  • Electromyography (EMG), to assess electrical activity within muscles
  • Genetic testing, to detect genetic disorders associated with dystonia, eg Huntington's disease

Based on the results of the examination, the doctor will determine the type of dystonia experienced and the appropriate treatment method.

Dystonia Treatment

Until now there is no known treatment that can cure dystonia. However, there are several treatments to reduce the frequency and severity of symptoms, including:

  • Medications
    Medications that are given aim to affect signals in the brain, for example anticholinergic drugs , such as trihexyphenidyl ; gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) regulating drugs , eg diazepam and lorazepam ; as well as dopamine drugs, such as levodopa.
  • Physiotherapy
    Doctors can advise patients to undergo physiotherapy, to retrain the affected muscles.
  • Surgery
    Surgery is performed when other treatments have not worked. Surgery aims to stimulate the brain with an electric current ( deep brain stimulation ), or cut the nerves of the affected muscle ( selective denervation and surgery ).
  • Botox injections ( botulinum toxin )
    This drug will be injected directly into the area of ​​the body affected by dystonia and needs to be repeated every 3 months. It is important to remember, the injection must be under the supervision of a doctor.

Dystonic complications

There are several complications that can be experienced by sufferers of dystonia, namely:

  • Difficulty doing activities because of obstacles in moving
  • Difficulty swallowing or speaking
  • Difficulty in seeing, if dystonia affects the eyelids
  • Psychological disorders, such as anxiety disorders or depression
  • Fatigue and pain due to continuous muscle contractions

Dystonia Prevention

Because the cause is unknown, dystonia cannot be prevented. However, the following steps can be taken to prevent dystonia from worsening:

  • Manage stress well
  • Get enough rest and sleep
  • Consult a doctor and perform a medical examination if you have a history or risk factors for stroke
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