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What is dystonia?

If you have noticed symptoms of uncontrollable muscle spasm in one or more areas of your body, you may be suffering from a neurological condition called dystonia. The abnormal muscle contractions that dystonia causes that force you into unusual and uncomfortable postures or cause involuntary repetitive motions can make it difficult, if not impossible, to continue performing work activities in Indiana due to the resulting disability. 

According to WebMD, the area of the brain that initiates muscle contractions is the basal ganglia. Dystonia appears to stem from damage to the basal ganglia that impedes communication between the nerves. Potential causes of the nerve damage that results in dystonia include the following: 

  • Stroke
  • Infection
  • Brain trauma
  • Tumor
  • Oxygen deprivation
  • Drug reactions

However, sometimes it is not possible to pinpoint an exact cause of the nerve damage. The medical term for this is idiopathic dystonia. It may also relate to genetics, meaning that if you have a parent who experiences dystonia, you may be at risk of developing it too. 

Symptoms of dystonia include difficulties with speech, cramping of the foot, dragging of the leg or involuntary pulling of the neck. These symptoms can range from mild to severe. Possible treatments include medications, physical and/or speech therapy, stress management or deep brain stimulation. However, there is no cure for dystonia.

There are many different types of dystonia. Researchers categorize them based on how much of the body they affect, and in what areas. Focal dystonia affects only one body part, while generalized dystonia affects all or most of the body. Hemidystonia affects the extremities on one side of the body, either left or right. Multifocal dystonia affects two or more unrelated body parts, while segmental dystonia affects body parts that are adjacent to one another. 

The information in this article is not intended as legal advice but provided for educational purposes only.

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