The only national charity providing support, advocacy and information for anyone affected by the neurological movement condition known as dystonia
There are many different types of dystonia.
Dystonia which starts in adult life usually remains focal to one part of the body. If dystonia starts in childhood, it tends to spread across multiple parts of the body.
Acquired dystonias are dystonias caused by damage or degeneration of the brain or abnormal response to certain medications.
In acquired dystonias, the dystonia is caused by damage or degeneration of the brain (for example after brain injury or stroke) or exposure to particular drugs.Read more
Eye dystonia (the medical term is Blepharospasm) is uncontrollable and often painful muscle contractions around the eye. Symptoms of eye dystonia may include excessive blinking and involuntary closure of the eyelids.Read more
Dopa-responsive dystonia (DRD) is a rare but highly treatable form of genetic dystonia. In many patients onset is characterised by an abnormal, 'stiff-legged' manner of walking, with upward bending of the sole of the foot, or turning of the foot outward at the ankle and a tendency to walk on the toe.Read more
Focal hand dystonia causes involuntary movement, cramps or tremor in the hand or arm muscles usually when making highly practiced hand movements such as writing or playing a musical instrument. Focal hand dystonia is often called writer’s cramp or musician’s cramp.Read more
Foot dystonia is uncontrollable and often painful muscle contractions in the foot which causes a twisting or turning in of the foot. Foot dystonia is believed to be caused by incorrect messages from the brain to the muscles in the foot or lower leg.Read more
Functional dystonia is a condition where some specific symptoms of dystonia appear but tests that normally establish the cause of these symptoms are negative. Functional dystonia breaks down into two types: Functional fixed dystonia and Functional paroxysmal dystonia.Read more
Generalised dystonia, is a rare form of dystonia that is usually early-onset (most often appearing in late childhood / early teens). Typically, the condition starts in a limb and then ‘generalises’ to other areas.Read more
Hemidystonia is a form of dystonia that affects only the left OR right side of the body. It is characterised by abnormal movements in either the left leg, left arm sometimes left side of the face; OR the right arm, right leg and sometimes right side of the face.Read more
Hemifacial spasm causes the muscles on one side of the face to contract. In its mildest form this may cause no more than a slight inconvenience, although the symptoms may still be disfiguring and socially embarrassing.
In more severe cases, the contractions may interfere with vision, since the other eye is usually unaffected, it rarely causes loss of sight.Read more
Meige Syndrome (also known as Cranial dystonia or Oral facial dystonia) and is actually a combination of two forms of dystonia – eye dystonia (Blepharospasm) and mouth, tongue or jaw dystonia (Oromandibular).Read more
Myoclonus is the term used to describe brief ‘lightning-like’ jerks by the body. Sometimes myoclonic jerks occur in combination with dystonia, where this happens, the condition is called myoclonus-dystonia (M-D).Read more
Neck dystonia (the medical name is cervical dystonia, or sometimes spasmodic torticollis) is uncontrollable and often painful muscle contractions in the neck which cause awkward postures and discomfort. The head generally pulls to one side, backwards or forwards.Read more
Mouth, tongue or jaw dystonia (the medical term is Oromandibular dystonia) is characterised by forceful contractions of the face, jaw or tongue. It can cause difficulty opening or closing the mouth, often affecting chewing and speech.Read more
Paroxysmal dystonias are a group of rare dystonias which are short, episodic periods of dystonic movements which are only visible during attacks. Between attacks there are usually no other visible symptoms.Read more
Generally, when dystonia starts in adulthood, it affects only one part of the body and is called focal dystonia. When adult-onset dystonia affects 2 contiguous (neighbouring) parts of the body this is called segmental dystonia. When adult-onset dystonia affects 2 non-contiguous parts of the body or more than 2 parts of the body, the condition is called multifocal dystonia.Read more
Dystonia has a variety of causes one of which is an unwanted side effect of taking certain drugs used to treat other conditions. Where dystonia is caused by the side effects of drugs in this manner, this is called tardive dystonia.Read more
Truncal dystonia is uncontrollable and often painful muscle contractions in the trunk which may cause unusual stretching, bending or twisting of the trunk. Abdominal wall dystonia is also known as Belly Dancer’s dyskinesia is uncontrollable and often painful muscle contractions in the abdomen. Symptoms vary but usually consist of writhing movements and contractions of the abdominal muscles.Read more
Voice dystonia is also known as laryngeal dystonia and spasmodic dysphonia. In this condition, the vocal cords are affected by involuntary spasms. These involuntary spasms of the vocal cords cause the voice to change in quality.Read more