Dystonia is a condition that involves the basal ganglia, an area of the brain. It is a neurological movement disorder where certain muscles are affected causing abnormal posture or movement. 

Symptoms of Dystonia:

Symptoms can range from mild to severe and affect different regions of the body. Some symptoms include:

  • Speech difficulties
  • Cramping of the foot
  • Uncontrollable blinking
  • A “dragging leg”
  • Involuntary pulling of the neck


Some dystonia cases may not have a specific cause. The area in the brain that is responsible for initiating a muscle contraction has a communication error between nerve cells. Some causes of dystonia may be from:

  • Infection
  • Brain Trauma
  • Oxygen Deprivation
  • Drug Reactions
  • Stroke
  • Tumor
  • Poisoning caused by lead or carbon monoxide

Types of Dystonia:

There are many types of Dystonia which are classified body regions. Some types of dystonia are: 

  • Blepharospasm - affects the eye region.
  • Cervical dystonia or torticollis - this is the most common type and affects the neck muscles. 
  • Cranial dystonia - affects the head, face, and neck muscles.
  • Oromandibular - affects the jaw, lips, and tongue causing muscle spasms. 

Dystonia Treatment:

Physical therapy, speech therapy and stress management may also help with treating the symptoms of dystonia. Within physical therapy, a specialty called ASTR (Advanced Soft Tissue Release) is a noninvasive, holistic approach that may help reduce involuntary movement.  

  • Patient avoided hip surgery.

  • Patient avoided back surgery.

  • This newborn came in unable to move his neck from the side position. He suffered from torticollis, severe neck and back spasms. After just 1 ASTR treatment, he had complete range of motion.

  • Patient came in unable to move his neck from the side position. After 3 ASTR treatments, he regained full range of motion.

  • This young gymnast came in unable to do the splits. After just 1 ASTR treatment, she had full range of motion.


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