Types of Dystonia and Treatment Options

Types of Dystonia and Treatment Options

Dystonia is a complex movement disorder characterized by involuntary muscle contractions. As many as 250,000 people in the United States have Dystonia, making it the third most common movement disorder behind essential tremor and Parkinson's disease1. The muscle contractions that affect the body result in repetitive movements, abnormal posture, pain, and fatigue. Symptoms of Dystonia can range from very mild to severe.

Dystonia can affect any area of the body, and each type has its clinical name:

  • Focal Dystonia: affects only one area of the body
  • Generalized Dystonia: affects most or all of the body
  • Segmental Dystonia: affects two or more parts of the body adjacent to one another
  • Multifocal Dystonia: affects unrelated parts of the body

When Dystonia begins in early childhood, it spreads across multiple body parts, as when it starts in adult life, it typically remains in one or two focal parts of the body. Various treatment options are determined by the type and severity of the diagnosis. It may take a combination of several treatments to help with the symptoms.


  • Botox or Xeomin injected into affected muscles can offer great relief and only need to be repeated every three months.
  • Levodopa may help alleviate Dystonia in a minority of MSA patients.
  • Anticholinergics work by blocking acetylcholine, the neurotransmitter that activates muscles.
  • Baclofen raises levels of the calming neurotransmitter GABA and is helpful for some dystonia patients

Dystonia develops gradually, with localized symptoms suggesting the presence of the disorder. Diagnosing dystonia is a multistep process because no particular test can give a definitive answer. At North Suffolk Neurology, we ensure you understand each test and treatment's potential risks and benefits so you and your family can make decisions more confidently.

If you have been diagnosed with dystonia and are seeking cutting edge treatment options, contact the North Suffolk Neurology experts today for a comprehensive evaluation. For all in-office appointments & inquiries, please call (631) 364-9119.

North Suffolk Neurology is a full-service Neurology, Headache Medicine, and Sleep Medicine practice. Our neurologists are board certified with a commitment to help patients and their families maintain and improve health.

  1. https://www.multiplesystematrophy.org/about-msa/dystonia/