How will my dystonic symptoms stabilize over time?

After a period of about three to five years after symptoms begin, dystonia will often stabilize and not progress to other body areas. However, dystonia symptoms are somewhat notorious for changing subtly over time and varying in intensity depending on a number of factors (such as fatigue, stress level and menstruation).

As a general rule, the older a person is when dystonia develops, the less likely it will progress to multiple body areas. The younger a person is when dystonia develops, the more likely that it will progress to multiple body parts over time, particularly if the dystonia begins in a leg. In those patients, the disorder will typically stabilize within a few years and not progress any further. Children who first develop dystonia in the neck or arm may experience little, if any, progression beyond those areas, and kids who develop paroxysmal dystonia or dyskinesias may have symptoms that plateau in middle childhood, worsen during puberty and improve significantly in adulthood.

In some dystonia patients, especially those with cervical dystonia, there may be a temporary remission that lasts months or years.

The bottom line, unfortunately, is that dystonia is unpredictable. There is no guarantee that the disease will not progress even after a period of stabilization, and no way to predict how symptoms may change over time. However, experienced doctors will be aware that symptoms may change subtly over time, and there are a variety of treatment options that can be used to adjust the treatment plan.

Continue Learning about Dystonia


When your muscles contract involuntarily, the condition is called dystonia. Dystonia causes a twisting or clenching of whatever body part is affected. For example, when you have a stroke, the affected arm and hand may be clenched ...

and held in a strange position. Dystonia can be very mild or very severe. It can make your life very difficult and this can lead to frustration, depression or anxiety. See your doctor to treat your symptoms and talk over your frustrations.

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.