Your Trusted Neurologist in Leesburg Explains the Possible Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment of Dystonia

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Dystonia is a neurological disorder characterized by involuntary and excessive muscle contractions. These cause twisting, repetitive movements, and abnormal postures that are out of the individual’s control. Severe muscle spasms from dystonia can be painful, negatively affecting the sufferer’s day-to-day routines. While there is still no known cure for this condition, an experienced neurologist in Leesburg can help manage its symptoms to enhance the patient’s quality of life.

Possible Causes

The specific causes of dystonia haven’t been identified yet, but experts have theorized that it may involve disrupted communication between cells and nerves in various areas of the brain. Dystonia has sometimes been observed to run in families or inherited.

Symptoms

Dystonia manifests in various ways, which means symptoms may differ widely among patients. Below are some examples:

  • Muscle contractions that occur during particular tasks, such as handwriting
  • Spasms that worsen with fatigue or stress
  • Irregular movements that become more pronounced over time
  • Contractions that begin in one area, such as the arm or leg

Furthermore, dystonia can also be a symptom of other conditions, such as:

  • Stroke
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Infections
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Heavy metal poisoning

Common Areas Affected by Dystonia

Additionally, this disorder can affect almost any part of the body. The common areas affected by dystonia are:

  • Eyelids

Involuntary spasms that occur in the eyelids can cause the eyes to close or blink rapidly. This can happen more frequently under bright light, increasing eye dryness and making it difficult to see.

  • Tongue or Jaw

Individuals with oromandibular dystonia experience swallowing and chewing difficulties as well as drooling and slurred speech.

  • Neck

Dystonia can cause your neck to pull forward, backward, or twist and turn. The muscle contractions can sometimes be painful.

  • Voice Box

Also known as spasmodic dystonia, dystonia in the voice box can manifest in a whispering or tight voice.

  • Arms and Hands

There are cases when dystonia only happens during repetitive actions, such as playing a musical instrument or writing.

Due to such a diverse combination of symptoms, affected areas, and related conditions, it takes a Dulles neurology specialist to diagnose dystonia correctly.

Complications

If left untreated, dystonia can lead to several complications. Patients report experiencing:

  • Vision problems
  • Fatigue and pain due to the constant muscle contractions
  • Speech and swallowing difficulties
  • Jaw movement issues
  • Difficulty performing everyday tasks
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Social withdrawal

When to See a Neurologist in Leesburg, VA

The earliest signs of dystonia can be mild and often don’t raise red flags. Therefore, one should be extra vigilant at the first sign of involuntary muscle contractions. Determine if the incidences are becoming more frequent or intense and set an appointment with a neurologist as soon as you can.

Once dystonia is diagnosed, treatment focuses on effectively managing its symptoms. Your neurologist may recommend:

  • Pain control strategies
  • Sensory tricks to help control the spasms in social situations
  • Lifestyle adjustments
  • Therapy
  • Medications

Managing dystonia is possible with the help of a neurologist in Leesburg and the active participation of the patient and his caretakers. Like most neurological conditions, the chances of regaining quality of life gets better the earlier you get treatment. Schedule a consultation ASAP if you suspect that you or someone you know may be affected by dystonia.

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