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In dystonia, muscles contract involuntarily — causing an uncontrollable twisting of the affected body part. Symptoms can be mild or severe, and may interfere with the performance of many day-to-day tasks.
While there may be no cure for dystonia, there are treatments available. For example, botulinum toxin injections (Botox) are given. This particular toxin causes the muscle to weaken and lessens contractions. For more severe cases of dystonia, deep brain stimulation is used. In addition to these, oral medications are also an option. Surgery is also sometimes performed by severing or removing nerves responsible for the muscle that is contracting. Surgery is an option that is used when everything else has failed.
Dystonia is usually a self limiting disorder (temporary) caused by electrolyte disturbances and when the abnormalities are corrected the disorder disappears and symptoms fade. A large percentage of dystonic patients have hypomagnesemia, thus the treatment of choice is intravenous magnesium sulfate and serial serum electrolyte levels. Other causes could have an infectious or toxic etiology and these must be ruled out. Some neuroleptic/psychiatric medication side effects cause dystonic like reactions, particularly Thorazine.
Dystonia is a muscular disorder involving normal tone of deep muscles, usually skeletal muscles. This abnormal tonicity of the muscles causes involuntary distorted twisting movements. Clinically, DTR's or deep tendon reflexes can be assessed.
Presently there is no cure for dystonia, but there are several different courses of treatment to minimize the symptoms:
Physical therapy - structured exercise to help the affected areas for people with focal dystonia. This method is not always successful.
Medication - there are serval different medications that are used to alleviate symptoms: acetylcholine inhibitors, muscle relaxants, dopamine agonists, and baclofen. All of these medications attempt to relax the movement of muscles.
Surgery - in some cases denervation of the affected muscles may provide relief, but as it is not reversible caution is taken when choosing this procedure.
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