Various treatments are available for dystonia. These will be determined by the type and severity of the particular condition. The main options are:


Drugs are effective for some patients. Some work by interfering with neurotransmitters, the chemical substances that carry messages within the brain. Others are designed to relax the muscles, reduce shaking and control muscle spasms. To be effective, they have to be taken continuously. Drugs can cause side effects.

Botulinum toxin

Botulinum toxin injections are generally the most effective treatment for most cases of focal dystonia. The injections are usually administered every three months. These injections are also sometimes used in more generalised dystonias as part of a wider treatment regime.


Surgery may be an option where patients have never been or are no longer receptive to other treatments. Surgical treatments include deep brain stimulation (DBS) where electrodes are planted into the brain to help ‘rebalance’ movement and to control posture. The electrodes are powered by a battery implanted in the chest. There are a number of other surgical treatments that are occasionally used.

Other support

Physiotherapy can be effective in treating neck or generalised dystonia as long as it is used appropriately. It needs to be provided by a specialist physiotherapist who understands dystonia as inappropriate excercises may make symptoms worse.
Depending on the symptoms of dystonia, a number of other types of support can also be helpful including speech and language therapy, dietary advice, pain management support, psychological support and occupational therapy.

To read in more detail about the treatments available for dystonia click here.