Involuntary Movements Can Be Dystonia. Know All About This Neurological Disorder

We may think we move our hands and legs knowingly, but in several cases, it can happen on its own too.

Vani Malik
Written by: Vani MalikPublished at: Apr 24, 2020Updated at: Apr 24, 2020
Involuntary Movements Can Be Dystonia. Know All About This Neurological Disorder

Dystonia is a neurological disorder. Its patients are often unable to do even their daily activities. We all want to have control over almost everything happening in our lives, leaving aside just our movement. It is commonly understood that our brain sends a signal to our brain, which leads to us moving our hands, legs and even all of us talking too. Dr Kishor Rao, Consultant Neuro Surgeon, Functional Neurosurgery and Spine Surgeon, Columbia Asia Hospital Sarjapur Road, explains that dystonia is a neurological movement disorder syndrome. There is an unknown or involuntary movement of muscles in the human body, leading to a disturbed posture, twisting or even repetitive movements. More than a physical condition, dystonia affects the mental health of a person, and also the start to social avoidance.


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Apart from the brain, dystonia affects various parts of the body. These spasms can be of varying intensity and can also be painful for some. When in the mild state, it may seem normal but may cause various issues in completing daily activities in advance stages. In extreme cases, surgery is done to disable the nerve leading to such involuntary movement in the body.

Symptoms Of Dystonia

Ranging from mild to severe, dystonia can start and progress from stage to stage. The contraction in the muscle may begin from the leg and then extend up to the neck and the arm. Following are some symptoms of dystonia that you should know, explains Dr Rao. Also, these are early triggers:

  • Cramp in the leg and foot
  • Dragging of the leg
  • Unknowing and involuntary pulling of the neck
  • Excessive blinking in the eye
  • Difficulty in the speech


It is a miracle that all these activities of the body go on continuously. Still, a small disturbance can severely disrupt the streamlined system of our physical processes, due to which many problems and inefficiencies can emerge. More than anything, stress and tiredness may only worsen the symptoms mentioned above and also lead to pain in various cases. When encountered in kids, dystonia symptoms are mostly seen in the hand and foot and then on the other parts of the body. It starts from the handwriting and gets further worse with stress, mental instability, anxiety, etc.

Dystonia affects the parts of the body:

  • Eyelids: Excessive blinking is a significant symptom of dystonia, which could further lead to issues in the vision. This happens when one person is in stress and has certain anxiety or fatigue.
  • Neck: Also known as the cervical dystonia, contractions here lead to twisting and turning of the head to one side or forward and backwards too.
  • Hand movement: This happens when one writes or even plays a musical instrument where there is involuntary movement in the body.

Causes of Dystonia

Little has been known about the causes of dystonia so far. Symptoms of dystonia are seen in special tasks, such as writing, called writer's cramp. However, it can also be genetic. In some people, symptoms of dystonia also develop due to certain diseases with special medicines like lung cancer. In some instances, it can also be a symptom of another underlying disease, like:

  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Stroke
  • Brain tumour
  • Deprivation from oxygen
  • Reaction to various medications


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There also come multiple complications that can happen due to dystonia, explains Dr Rao

  • Difficulty in doing everyday tasks
  • Difficulty in seeing things clearly due to excessive fluttering of the eye
  • Pain due to involuntary movement
  • Advance stage of depression and social distancing

Dr Rao concludes that dystonia needs all the more attention as there is no specific cure for this. One has to look for the various symptoms and then treat each symptom separately.

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