Can dystonia be treated?

Dystonia can be treated with medicines and surgery that reduce how often people have spasms and how severe they are, but there is no cure for dystonia.

Some medicines work by stopping the messages in the brain from being sent to the wrong place. Other medicines work by relaxing tight muscles. Mostly, the medicines come as pills or a liquid to swallow. Sometimes people get injections like botulinum toxin into muscles. This allows the medicine to get straight to work on muscles. Medicines also come in a pump that goes just under the skin. This relaxes muscles non-stop.

For some people, an operation called deep brain stimulation (DBS) can be helpful. In DBS, the doctor implants a small device in the chest, with small wires that go to the brain. The device sends signals, which stop muscles from tightening. Everyone is different, so the doctor will help the person decide on the best treatment.

There is not yet a cure for dystonia, but there are multiple treatment options. The goal of treatment is to reduce muscle spasms, pain, and posturing. The ultimate goals are to improve quality of your life and help you function with the fewest possible side effects. However, no single treatment will be appropriate for every case.

A movement disorder neurologist is typically the type of specialist with the training to diagnose and treat dystonia. Establishing a satisfactory treatment plan requires open communication and patience between you and your doctor. It’s important to find the most experienced doctor possible and that it is someone with whom you feel comfortable.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.