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.

Genetic changes

Dystonia sometimes may be inherited. Researchers also have discovered many genetic changes associated with some inherited forms of dystonia.

Other disorders

Sometimes dystonia may be a symptom of another disorder or condition, including:

  • Parkinson's disease
  • Huntington's disease
  • Wilson's disease
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Birth injury
  • Stroke
  • Brain tumor
  • Paraneoplastic syndromes
  • Oxygen deprivation
  • Infections, such as tuberculosis or encephalitis
  • Reactions to certain medications
  • Heavy metal or carbon monoxide poisoning
May 12, 2012