Doctors don't know exactly what causes most cases of dystonia, but a few factors may be involved.
Altered nerve cell communication
Dystonia may be linked to altered communication between nerve cells located in the basal ganglia — an area of the brain involved in initiating muscle contractions.
Dystonia sometimes may be inherited. Researchers also have discovered many genetic changes associated with some inherited forms of dystonia.
Sometimes dystonia may be a symptom of another disorder or condition, including:
May. 12, 2012
- Parkinson's disease
- Huntington's disease
- Wilson's disease
- Traumatic brain injury
- Birth injury
- Brain tumor
- Paraneoplastic syndromes
- Oxygen deprivation
- Infections, such as tuberculosis or encephalitis
- Reactions to certain medications
- Heavy metal or carbon monoxide poisoning
- Dystonias fact sheet. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/dystonias/detail_dystonias.htm. Accessed Feb. 14, 2012.
- Comella C. Classification and evaluation of dystonia. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed Feb. 13, 2012.
- Phukan J, et al. Primary dystonia and dystonia-plus syndromes: Clinical characteristics, diagnosis, and pathogenesis. The Lancet Neurology. 2011;10:1074.
- Dystonias. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merck.com/mmpe/print/sec16/ch221/ch221c.html. Accessed Feb. 13, 2012.
- Neurological diagnostic tests and procedures. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/misc/diagnostic_tests.htm. Accessed Feb. 14, 2012.
- Comella C. Treatment of dystonia. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed Feb. 13, 2012.
- Ferri FF. Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2012: 5 Books in 1. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2012. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/page.do?eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-323-05611-3..00013-6--sc0135&isbn=978-0-323-05611-3&uniqId=317541266-3#4-u1.0-B978-0-323-05611-3..00013-6--sc0135. Accessed Feb. 14, 2012.
- Ozelius LJ, et al. Milestones in dystonia. Movement Disorders. 2011;26:1106.
- Complementary therapy. Dystonia Medical Research Foundation. http://www.dystonia-foundation.org/pages/complementary_therapy/156.php. Accessed Feb. 14, 2012.
- Terms related to complementary and alternative medicine. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. http://nccam.nih.gov/health/providers/camterms.htm. Accessed Feb. 15, 2012.
- Yoga for health: An introduction. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. http://nccam.nih.gov/health/yoga/introduction.htm. Accessed Feb. 15, 2012.
You Are ... The Campaign for Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit organization. Make a difference today.