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Dystonia is a movement disorder, meaning it affects parts of the brain that control body movement (motor function). It causes involuntary muscle spasms (contractions), sometimes repeatedly, that can twist the body and be painful.  Dystonia symptoms often start in childhood or early adulthood and can range from mild to severe. In about half of cases, dystonia is a symptom of a disease or a result of being exposed to toxins or certain drugs. In most other cases where dystonia is not linked to a specific illness or problem, it is thought to be hereditary.  Many cases of dystonia are temporary, such as those brought on by medication. Although there is no cure for dystonia, several treatment options can help control symptoms and allow people to live independently.

These treatment options include:

  • Drugs and medication 
  • Physical therapy
  • Surgery - Deep brain stimulation delivers electrical stimulation to targeted areas in the brain that control movement, blocking the neuronal signals that cause abnormal movement. DBS gives significant benefit in most of the people who undergo the procedure for essential tremor.