What is focal dystonia?

Dystonia may affect a specific part of the body, or it may affect muscles all over the body. When dystonia symptoms target one specific part of the body (for example, the neck, hand, or vocal cords), it is called "focal dystonia."

When a single body part is affected by dystonia, the condition is referred to as focal dystonia. Common forms of focal dystonia affect the:

  • Neck (cervical dystonia or spasmodic torticollis)
  • Eyelids (blepharospasm)
  • Voice (spasmodic dysphonia)
  • Hand (writer cramp)
  • Well-practiced muscles of professional musicians (musicians dystonia)

Focal dystonia may spread to adjacent body parts (segmental dystonia) or unrelated parts of the body (multifocal dystonia). In children, dystonia often begins in a limb and spreads to involve one or both legs, the trunk, and other parts of the body; this is referred to as generalized dystonia.

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