Infomation about Dystonia

Dystonia

What Is Dystonia

Dystonia is a movement disorder that causes your muscles to contract involuntarily, causing repetitive or twisting movements. This is a condition that can affect one part of the body (focal dystonia), two or more adjacent parts (segmental dystonia), or the entire body (general dystonia). Muscle spasms range form mild to severe and they can be painful at times, interfering with everyday tasks. Unfortunately, there is no cure for dystonia, but medications and therapy can help improve symptoms. Occasionally, surgery is necessary to disable or regulate nerves or specific regions in the brain of a person with severe dystonia.

Signs Of Dystonia

Symptoms may vary from person to person and will depend on the severity of the condition. It's possible that muscle spasms will:

  • Begin in a single area, such as the neck, leg, or arm. If focal dystonia begins after age 21, it tends to occur in the neck, arm, or face and remain focal or become segmental. 
  • Worsen with stress, anxiety, and fatigue
  • Become more noticeable over time
  • Occur during a specific action or movement, such as handwriting.

Ares of the body that may be affected by dystonia include:

  • Neck (contractions can cause your head to twist and turn to one side or pull forward or backward)
  • Jaw or tongue (slurred speech, drooling, difficulty chewing, and swallowing can be challenging)
  • Hand and forearm (some types of dystonia only occur during repetitive activity, such as writing or playing a musical instrument)
  • Eyelids (rapid blinking or spasms cause the eyes to close, making it difficult to see)
What Causes Dystonia

Currently, health officials don't know the exact cause of dystonia. Researchers believe that changes in communication between nerve cells in a few regions of the brain may contribute to the development of the condition. Some forms of dystonia are genetic and it can sometimes be a symptom of another disease or condition, such as:

  • Wilson's disease
  • Stroke
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Huntington's disease
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Infections (such as encephalitis or tuberculosis)
  • Brain tumor, or certain disorders that occur in cancer patients)
  • Birth injury
  • Reactions to certain medications or heavy metal poisoning

Dherbs Approach...adjusting your diet is always key!

Natural Remedies
  • Your healthcare provider may suggest a few different therapy methods, depending on the type of dystonia you have. Physical therapy or occupational therapy may improve function and ease symptoms. Speech therapy may be necessary if dystonia affects your voice. Stretching or massage therapy may help ease muscle pain if that is a symptom. 
  • Biofeedback, while not heavily studied for its effectiveness on treating dystonia symptoms, may offer some relief. This involves a therapist that uses electronic devices to monitor the body's functions, including heart rate and blood pressure. This process can help you learn to control your body's responses, which may reduce muscle tension and stress.
  • Several forms of relaxation exercises may ease muscle tension and spasms that occur. Deep breathing and meditation, for example, may ease stress, which can worsen symptoms. Yoga, which combines physical postures and breathing techniques, may help promote relaxation and ease muscle pain.
  • While it will not cure the condition, you can develop sensory tricks to help reduce muscle spasms. Touching certain parts of the body may cause muscle spasms to stop. For this reason, acupuncture may be a viable alternative therapy option. 
  • Ashwagandha is a popular herb in Ayurvedic medicine and it works to relieve stress and anxiety. Several studies note that it exhibits anti-inflammatory properties that work to naturally relieve joint pain. 
  • Gorakhmundi is a plant that works to regulate uric acid metabolism. In Ayurveda, this herb was used to help relieve gastric pain and painful joints. It was also used to cleanse the entire system. 
  • Exercising more frequently, even if you walk a little each day, can help you feel better overall. Swimming and biking, in addition to several strength training exercises, may promote muscle building, which can help reduce the severity of symptoms.
Things you should eat

An optimal diet for people with dystonia will include lots of vegetables and fresh fruit. Plant based protein such as chickpeas, black beans, nuts, seeds, and whole grains can also benefit the entire body. Lastly, certain herbs and healthy oils are recommended for dystonia patients. 

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