CBD Oil For Dystonia


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We investigate whether cannabis and CBD oil can help to relieve the symptoms of dystonia. Here's everything you need to know. Patients with dystonia who smoked medical cannabis vs those who consumed cannabis oil extract were more likely to report dystonia symptom improvement. Dystonia You might be aware of medical marijuana and its ability to offer symptom relief of major diseases like cancer, epilepsy and multiple sclerosis (MS). However, you might not know that

Cannabis Therapy for Dystonia [Does It Work?]

All information on this website is for general informational purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Dystonia is a general term that doctors use to describe a group of movement disorders. These conditions involve uncontrollable muscle spasms and sometimes pain. They can have a massive impact on the sufferer’s quality of life, but treatment options are limited.

With medical marijuana and CBD becoming more popular, some patients are wondering whether cannabis therapy can help dystonia. We investigate in this in-depth article. But, first, let’s take a closer look at dystonia and its symptoms.

What Is Dystonia?

The term dystonia describes any one of several conditions that affect the muscles and movement. It results in uncontrollable muscle spasms and cramps, which can be extremely painful.

There are many different subtypes of dystonia, each affecting a different part of the body. They include the following:

  • Generalized dystonia (affects the whole body)
  • Myoclonus dystonia (jerking that typically affects the arms, torso, and neck)
  • Cervical dystonia (only affects the neck)
  • Blepharospasm (affects the eyes)
  • Laryngeal dystonia (affects the larynx)
  • Oromandibular dystonia (affects the lower face, jaw, and tongue)

Some types of dystonia are ‘task-specific,’ meaning that they only occur when carrying out certain activities. These activities might include writing, typing, or playing a musical instrument.

Dystonia Symptoms

In the early stages, dystonia symptoms are often mild. They may only occur in an isolated body part when performing a specific activity.

Eventually, these symptoms may progress to other body parts and become present most of the time. However, this is not always the case. Some people find that their dystonia either plateaus or improves over time.

How and when to use CBD Oil…

The most common symptoms of dystonia include:

  • Unusual twisting of the affected body part
  • Slow, repetitive movements
  • Muscle spasms and cramping
  • Tremors
  • Uncontrollable blinking

Dystonia symptoms can occur for the first time at any age. Most types of dystonia are more common in women than in men.

What Causes Dystonia?

Most experts agree that dystonia results from an abnormality in one of the brain regions responsible for movement.

For example, the basal ganglia control voluntary muscle and eye movements, among other things. This region of the brain is often dysfunctional in patients with dystonia, although other areas may also be involved.

Dystonia also appears to have a potential link with certain neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). When the brain is unable to process these neurotransmitters effectively, their messages can become jumbled, which may lead to abnormal movement.

Most experts agree that dystonia results from an abnormality in one of the brain regions responsible for movement.

Doctors generally classify dystonia into one of three categories:

  • Idiopathic dystonia: This type of dystonia has no apparent cause.
  • Genetic dystonia: Mutations in a specific gene cause a variety of dystonia that runs in families.
  • Acquired dystonia: A kind of dystonia that occurs due to brain injury (stroke, oxygen deprivation, or physical trauma) as well as certain medications.

Dystonia often appears in tandem with other medical conditions, including Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and cerebral palsy. Moreover, there are several dystonia triggers that can exacerbate symptoms. These include:

  • Tiredness
  • Stress
  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Activities such as talking, chewing, writing, typing, etc.

Common Dystonia Treatments (Not Cannabis)

Unfortunately, there is no cure for dystonia yet. However, there are several treatments that may help patients to manage their symptoms:

  • Botulinum toxin (Botox) injections
  • Muscle relaxants
  • Physical or occupational therapy
  • Deep brain stimulation

Deep brain stimulation involves placing a battery in the chest or abdomen. It is connected to the brain via thin wires and provides electrical stimulation to specific areas of the brain. For some patients, it can give relief from symptoms. However, others derive minimal benefit.

With dystonia treatment options so limited, it is little wonder that some patients are turning to cannabis. But does it really help?

Does Cannabis Help Dystonia?

Cannabis therapy has become widely accepted in recent years. The majority of American states now have medical marijuana programs in place, and some even allow recreational use.

Furthermore, new research is continually shedding light on the myriad benefits of the plant. To date, most studies have focused on THC and CBD, the two most prominent cannabinoids.

THC is probably best known for its intoxicating effects but also possesses a wealth of medicinal uses. On the other hand, CBD is famous for providing many similar benefits to THC but without the high.

So far, research into cannabis for dystonia has yielded somewhat mixed results. According to a 2015 study for the journal Neurotherapeutics, there have been several reports of marijuana helping patients with dystonia. However, these are mostly single case reports, and large-scale clinical trials are lacking.

One 2002 study assessed the effects of nabilone (a synthetic form of THC) for dystonia. It found that there were no significant improvements in subjects.

Research into CBD for dystonia is slightly more promising. A 2002 study for the European Journal of Pharmacology tested CBD on hamsters with idiopathic dystonia. They found that high doses tended to delay the progression of the disease.

Another study for The International Journal of Neuroscience followed five patients with dystonic movement disorders. The participants took CBD doses between 100mg and 600mg daily for a total of six weeks.

Amazingly, all of the patients experienced improvements, ranging between 20% and 50%. However, two patients with Parkinson’s features found that doses over 300mg exacerbated their symptoms.

CBD Effects on Dystonia

The most likely explanation for CBD’s effects on dystonia is its interaction with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). This system is present in most of the body’s tissues, including the brain.

The ECS is composed of cell receptors called cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2) and chemicals called endocannabinoids. These two components bind together like a lock and key to regulate a range of physiological functions. The ECS is involved in mood, appetite, and immunity, among other things.

CBD works by slowing the breakdown of endocannabinoids, thus increasing their levels in the brain.

The ECS also plays a crucial role in motor function. There is an exceptionally high concentration of CB1 and CB2 receptors in the basal ganglia of the brain. Experts have hypothesized that this is where CBD exerts its effects on dystonia.

CBD works by slowing the breakdown of endocannabinoids, thus increasing their levels in the brain. Furthermore, CBD has potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. These benefits mean that it could help to protect structures in the brain from damage in conditions like Parkinson’s disease.

However, more research is necessary to confirm how well CBD works for dystonia.

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What Is the Best CBD for Dystonia?

If an individual decides to try CBD for dystonia, there are a few things to bear in mind.

If a person lives somewhere where medical marijuana is legal and has a qualifying condition, they can apply for an MMJ card. This card allows its holders to purchase high-CBD cannabis strains or CBD oil from licensed dispensaries.

The advantage of this is that it allows people to choose a product containing some THC alongside its CBD and benefit from both cannabinoids.

However, if a person lives somewhere without a medical marijuana program, they are limited to buying hemp-derived CBD oil. This product contains just trace amounts of THC and is, therefore, legal in the majority of places.

Revealing the truth…

Hemp-derived CBD is also an excellent option for anyone who does not want to deal with the intoxicating effects of THC.

The problem with many CBD products is that the market is not well-regulated. Therefore, a lot of companies are selling items that are not up to scratch. Some contain far less CBD than they should, while others could include contaminants like pesticides or solvents.

Therefore, people should be cautious when buying CBD oil for dystonia. Look for a brand that offers third-party lab reports on its website. These reports show exactly what is in each product and prove there is nothing to hide.

There are also a huge variety of different CBD products to choose from, and picking one can be confusing. For more guidance on purchasing CBD, check out our guide to the best types of CBD products.

Cannabis Therapy for Dystonia: Final Thoughts

Dystonia is a condition that has a severe impact on a person’s quality of life. It can cause not only severe pain but also makes everyday activities a challenge. Furthermore, there are few truly effective treatments available.

Therefore, many people are turning to cannabis therapy for dystonia. There have been reports over the years of this natural medicine relieving dystonia symptoms for some people. However, hard clinical evidence is lacking, so there is no guarantee that it will work for everyone.

If a person is thinking about trying cannabis or CBD oil for dystonia, consult a medical professional first. They will advise whether it is safe or not and offer additional advice on how to manage one’s symptoms.

Medical Cannabis Improves Dystonia Symptoms and Alleviates Pain

In a retrospective pilot study presented at MDS 2021, researchers assessed the effect of medical cannabis treatment on symptoms of dystonia and related pain.

The following article is part of conference coverage from the International Congress of Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders (MDS) Virtual Annual Meeting. Neurology Advisor’s staff will be reporting breaking news associated with research conducted by leading experts in neurology. Check back for the latest news from the MDS 2021 Virtual Annual Meeting.

Consumption of medical cannabis in adults with dystonia improves symptoms and alleviates related pain, according to study findings presented at the International Congress of Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Society (MDS) Virtual Congress 2021, held from September 17 to 22, 2021.

Previous research has found medical cannabis may help treat involuntary muscle contractions and reduce related pain in patients with dystonia by the activation of cannabinoid receptors in the basal ganglia that release γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA). This could potentially reduce severity and improve quality of life for patients with dystonia. From 2013, the Israeli Ministry of Health (MOH) has accepted the use of medical cannabis for symptomatic treatment in patients with movement disorders and related pain.

The current study aimed to assess the effect of medical cannabis on dystonia muscle activity and related pain in patients with an MOH-approved medical cannabis license.

Patients with dystonia (n=23) with an approved medical cannabis license from the MOH were contacted via telephone by researchers from the Tel Aviv University, Israel. Using a 5-point Likert scale, participants’ demographics, medical cannabis use, and treatment effects were assessed.

A total of 11 women and 12 men, with a mean age of 52.7 years, were included in the analysis. Dystonia etiologies were generalized (n=9), focal (n=6), segmental (n=5), hemidystonia (n=2), or multifocal (n=1) caused by Parkinson disease (n=6), monogenic variants (n=4), or unknown (n=13).

Participants indicated that they had been using medical cannabis for an average of 2.5±1.0 years. Medical cannabis was consumed at a mean dose of 22.6±20.1 grams per month and at a frequency of 3.3±4.3 times per day. The medical cannabis was composed of 10.6%±6.6% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and 8.0%±5.7% cannabidiol. Participants also indicated that they used cannabis oil extract (47.8%), smoked dried buds (43.5%), or both (8.7%).

The subjective, self-reported efficacy of medical cannabis for dystonia was 3.3/5, pain was 3.7/5, and quality of life was 3.6/5. The majority of participants (70%) also reported an improvement in sleep.

Participants who experienced more improvements to their dystonia reported using a higher THC dose than those who showed little improvement, with a positive correlation between THC dose and dystonia symptom improvement (R 2 =0.012).

Participants who smoked medical cannabis vs those who consumed the oil were more likely to report dystonia symptom improvement.

Adverse effects included dry mouth (65%), worsening mood (n=3), anxiety (n=2), anxiety with hallucinations (n=1), and suicidal ideation (n=1). Three participants stopped receiving treatment with medical cannabis due to inefficacy or adverse effects.

Study limitations included its small size and the inclusion of patients with differing dystonia symptoms, using uncontrolled dosing and administration methods. Therefore, these findings should be validated in a larger, controlled study.

“[Medical cannabis] seems to improve symptoms of dystonia and related pain. Higher daily dose of THC and smoking rather than sublingual oil are significantly more efficacious,” the researchers concluded.


Anis S, Faust-Socher A, Sverdlov D, et al. A real-life study of medical cannabis effect on adults with dystonia. Presented at: MDS Virtual Congress 2021; September 17-22, 2021. Poster 93.


You might be aware of medical marijuana and its ability to offer symptom relief of major diseases like cancer, epilepsy and multiple sclerosis (MS). However, you might not know that medical marijuana for dystonia can help if you or a loved one has the condition. Dystonia afflicts close to 300,000 people in North America and can interfere with daily living.

Marijuana and Dystonia

Types of dystonias depend on the regions of the body they affect. Because so much of the disease entails muscle spasms and involuntary contractions, cannabidiol treatment, or medical marijuana, can be incredibly beneficial for treating involuntary muscle spasms. There has been research to support CBD treatment as particularly beneficial for reducing dystonic movement disorders.

How and Why Marijuana Is an Effective Treatment for Dystonia

Research has found that medical cannabis for dystonia does improve symptoms. Cannabis contains two main cannabinoids that activate the CB1 and CB2 receptors of your endocannabinoid system. These are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), and they help regulate the inhibitory and excitatory neurotransmitters necessary to diminish muscle tremors and spasticity.

A study of Sativex, or cannabis medication, in people who had spasticity symptoms due to MS revealed that after four weeks of weed treatment, the spasms traditional efforts didn’t work on were significantly reduced.

The Journal of Pain and Symptom Management published a 2002 case study that reported improved dystonia symptoms in a 42-year-old chronic pain patient. Her subjective pain score, which was at a nine, fell to zero after she inhaled the cannabis smoke. She also needed no additional analgesic drugs for the next 48 hours. Researchers said no other types of treatment provided her with significant relief in her condition.

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What Symptoms of Dystonia Can Marijuana Treat?

Contorting muscles and repetitive spasms not only characterize dystonia, but they’re also often accompanied by neuropathic pain. The pain can target any extremity, including your hands. Disabling and painful dystonias can occur in your shoulder, neck and facial areas, and prevent you from being able to speak, move or walk if left untreated.

Now, although cannabis for dystonia can’t cure the condition or reverse any side effects, it’s been said that it can, in many cases, eliminate your pain and cause your muscles to unclench and relax to the point where you’re not severely disabled anymore and may be able to function and move normally.

CBD does seem to help relieve some muscle spasming associated with dystonia but doesn’t appear to help as much as it does when it’s combined with high levels of THC. In treatments of CBD without THC, patients don’t seem to get the relief from residual pain.

Marijuana for dystonia helps ease symptoms of severe pain, nausea and appetite loss due to its antiemetic, analgesic and appetite-stimulating properties. It also has antispasmodic properties that help counteract the involuntary movements that go along with dystonia.

Best Strains of Marijuana to Use for Dystonia

Not only does dystonia cause symptoms of insomnia, tremors and pain similar to restless leg syndrome, but there may also be secondary effects of the continuous brain and muscle activity, including:

  • Blurred vision
  • Mental stress
  • Depression
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Mood swings
  • Disrupted sleep patterns

When you have dystonia, it affects your overall well-being and ability to function normally each day, which can be stressful and depressing. Fortunately, there are some cannabis and dystonia strains that can help with a number of symptoms. The strains for each symptom are as follows:

For pain related to dystonia, try:

  • Death Star
  • Purple Trainwreck
  • Shishkaberry

For tremors and involuntary muscle movements associated with dystonia, try:

  • Purple Wreck
  • Snoop Dogg OG
  • Shishkaberry

For insomnia related to dystonia, try:

  • Death Star
  • Afgoo
  • Purple Wreck

For depression and stress accompanying dystonia, try:

  • Orange Kush
  • Death Star
  • White Berry

Take the Next Steps in Your Fight Against Dystonia by Finding a Dispensary

Of course, you’ll find some conventional treatments for dystonia. For some people, they may be enough. For others, however, they may find these treatments don’t offer much relief, particularly for pain and muscle spasms, so they look to cannabis.

Medical marijuana can help provide relief from dystonia symptoms. All it takes is a simple search for a medical marijuana doctor or dispensary. Dispensaries make it much easier to find prescribing doctors and get your medical weed quickly. There’s no hassle, and you save time.

When it comes to pain, you don’t want to waste any time finding relief. Here at Marijuana Doctors, we can help you improve your quality of life while living with dystonia. There can be ups and downs with dystonia, but living successfully with it is possible.

More Information About Medical Marijuana and Dystonia

What Is Dystonia?

Dystonia is a movement disorder causing your muscles to involuntarily contract. These contractions lead to repetitive movements and twisting, which can be painful at times. Researchers believe faulty brain signals cause muscles to pull on your body incorrectly, spasm and force your body to twist, move repetitively and form into an abnormal posture. Dystonic tremors sometimes accompany these symptoms.

Types of dystonia can be divided into three groups:

  • Idiopathic dystonia refers to dystonia that occurs without an apparent cause.
  • Genetic dystonia refers to dystonia genetically present at birth.
  • Acquired dystonia, also known as secondary dystonia, has resulted from either environmental or other forms of brain damage.

Some individuals inherit dystonia. Others have another disease that causes it. Dystonia can be so severe voluntary movements can make the condition worse.

Possible causes of the condition are:

  • Genetic inheritance
  • Carbon monoxide and lead poisoning
  • Physical trauma
  • Stroke
  • Infections

Pharmaceutical drugs may cause dystonia, particularly neuroleptics, which are often used to treat bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

Is There a Cure for Dystonia?

There’s no known cure for dystonia as of yet. However, in many cases, the condition doesn’t shorten the lifespan of a person. Dystonia is thought to come from a part of your brain known as basal ganglia.

This group of subcortical nuclei in your brain monitors the speed of movement and controls undesired actions. They’re responsible for sending your muscles signals that instruct them when to move and when to stop moving. With dystonia, these basal ganglia instructions become chaotic and irregular and cause your unwanted muscle contractions and movements.

History of Dystonia

Dystonia’s clinical features were first announced in 1911, reports the International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society. This was when three authors described several children afflicted by a syndrome that represented genetic cases of DYT1 dystonia.

In 1975, more than six decades later, the first dystonia conference was held in New York. During this time, dystonia was identified, in addition to severe generalized forms, to encompass poorly progressive segmental and focal cases with adulthood onset like torticollis, blepharospasm and writer’s cramp.

These forms were previously classified among neuroses and were considered independent disorders. In 1984, dystonia received a modern definition. Years after, it became apparent dystonia syndromes are diverse and numerous, prompting the introduction of new terminological descriptors, i.e. heredodegenerative dystonias, dystonia plus, etc., and other classifications. Dystonia’s clinical complexity became fully recognized.

Symptoms of Dystonia

In many cases, dystonia is displayed as abnormal posturing. Opposing muscles will contract at the same time as if competing for total control over a particular part of the body. There are many forms of dystonia, and each case varies in severity.

Symptoms may include:

  • Tremors
  • Difficulty producing speech
  • Trembling within the diaphragm while breathing
  • Lack of sleep
  • Heightened anxiety and stress
  • Similar pain to restless leg syndrome

Due to the constant muscle and brain activity, disturbed sleeping patterns, mood swings, mental stresses, difficulty concentrating and blurred vision are all common symptoms.

Effects of Dystonia

Complications depend on the type of dystonia and may include:

  • Physical disabilities that impact how you perform specific tasks and daily activities.
  • Difficulty with speech, swallowing and jaw movement.
  • Functional blindness affecting your eyelids.
  • Fatigue and pain due to repetitive muscle contractions.
  • Anxiety, depression and social withdrawal.

Some areas of your body and its functions that dystonia may affect include the following.

Common with cervical dystonia, you experience contractions that cause you to twist your head and turn it to one side. You may also pull forward or backward that may cause pain.

Forearm and Hand

Certain forms of dystonia occur when you’re performing a repetitive activity, like playing a musical instrument or writing.

Tongue or Jaw

Typical with oromandibular dystonia, you may experience drooling, slurred speech and difficulty swallowing or chewing. This type of dystonia can become painful and frequently occurs together with blepharospasms or cervical dystonia.

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Vocal Cords and Voice Box

You may experience a whispering or tight voice, particularly if you have spasmodic dystonia, which affects the muscles of the tongue and mouth, which may impact voice and speech. You might also find you have difficulty swallowing. Voice, speech or specialized swallowing therapy may help, along with botulinum toxin injections.


Common with blepharospasms, you may experience involuntary spasms or rapid blinking that cause your eyes to close and result in you becoming functionally blind. Although not typically painful, the spasms may increase when you’re under stress, in bright light or interacting with others. Your eyes may also feel dry.

Dystonia gradually develops in most cases. An exception to this may include acute dystonic reactions caused by certain antipsychotic medications and rapid-onset dystonia parkinsonism that could come on within hours or days.

Spasms, Cramping and Speech

You may begin experiencing mild symptoms of dystonia at first, such as difficulty chewing or subtle jaw or facial spasms that suggest early jaw or face dystonia. Your speech may change in rhythm or pitch that suggests early signs of spasmodic or laryngeal dysphonia. Early signs of cervical dystonia could cause mild head jerking movements, local neck discomfort or stiff neck.

Your hands may cramp up or become fatigued during manual activities like writing, or you may have difficulty walking, suggesting limb dystonia. Children developing generalized dystonia might start out complaining of leg cramps or a foot turning in. In some cases, an injury to a particular body area may cause focal dystonia.


The dystonia condition can affect your breathing in a few ways. Severe neck dystonia may impact your upper airway and cause you difficulty breathing. You may experience a shortness of breath with dystonia that involves your vocal cords when they close tight, usually when you speak. When you breathe, it requires muscles located between your ribs and your diaphragm, the latter of which is a major muscle of respiration.

Your muscles between your ribs may become stiff due to dystonia causing shortness of breath. Sometimes it may affect your diaphragm. Also, if your dystonia affects your spine, it could cause your torso to twist and make it hard for your lungs to expand when you breathe, causing you shortness of breath.

A Few Important Dystonia Statistics

Statistics on dystonia from the American Association of Neurological Surgeons reveal that:

  • Over 250,000 people in the United States have the condition.
  • Dystonia is the third-most-common type of movement disorder, behind Parkinson’s disease and essential tremor.
  • The older a person is at onset, the more potential for the disorder remaining moderate.
  • Focal dystonia or adult-onset dystonia seems to afflict people between the ages 40 through 50
  • Women are three times more likely to get focal dystonia than men.
  • Among the individuals with focal dystonia, up to 30 percent have spasms next to the primary area.
  • Childhood or adolescent onset of specific primary dystonias have been linked to genetic mutations.

Also, researchers have identified more than 15 different genetic mutations that contribute to dystonia, reports the National Institutes of Health.

Current Treatments Available for Dystonia and Their Side Effects

The initial step in treating dystonia is to learn about the underlying cause. Determining the root cause of your dystonia may have a direct impact on your course of treatment. For instance, a person with primary focal dystonia may require a slightly different treatment approach than an individual who has dystonia related to another neurological disorder.

Because dystonia presents so rarely and varies entirely on a case-by-case basis, standard treatment does not exist for the condition. Physical interventions such as physical therapy have not shown significant progress in their ability to heal patients, though it is not said to worsen the condition. Occupational therapists are often paired with patients suffering from symptoms of dystonia to assist them in daily living activities.

Because physiotherapy has proven useful for patients with dystonia-like symptoms with Parkinson’s disease, the same method of treatment has been used on patients with dystonia. Anti-Parkinson’s medications have been utilized for patients suffering from dystonia as well.

The type of treatment you receive typically depends on what causes your dystonia. In cases of secondary dystonia, treating the underlying condition may improve your symptoms.

In addition to medical marijuana for dystonia, In general, there are four standard methods for treating dystonia, depending on the area of your body it affects and how severe your symptoms are. These approaches include the following.

Botulinum Toxin Injections for Dystonia

Most forms of focal dystonia are treated with botulinum toxin injections. The doctor may inject small amounts of this toxin into your overactive muscles to change the muscle firing and calm the abnormal movements, and it usually lasts for a few months at a time.

Side effects of Botox include:

  • Rash
  • Allergic reactions
  • Itching
  • Back or neck pain
  • Headache
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Muscle stiffness or weakness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Stomach pain

Talk to your doctor about these side effects and if the benefits of this treatment would outweigh the risks.

Medications for Dystonia

Oral medications are usually given for multifocal, segmental and generalized dystonia. These types of medications include anticholinergic drugs and muscle relaxants or anti-spastic agents.

Side effects of anticholinergic drugs may include:

  • Blurry vision
  • Dry mouth
  • Drowsiness
  • Constipation
  • Hallucinations
  • Sedation
  • Delirium
  • Memory impairment
  • Decreased sweating
  • Confusion
  • Decreased saliva
  • Difficulty urinating

Antispastic agents or muscle relaxants come with side effects, too, so be sure you’re only taking them under your doctor’s advice and that you’re being monitored carefully. Some common side effects include drowsiness and dizziness, and the drug carries the potential for abuse.

Physical Therapy for Dystonia

Research into the benefits of physical therapy for dystonia patients remains limited. However, physical intervention is employed to help people with various aspects of daily living. These include improving balance, enhancing mobility, increasing stamina, improving posture and making it easier to accomplish daily living functions, such as going to the bathroom, dressing and undressing, bathing and completing other everyday tasks.

Physical therapy activities for dystonia include strengthening and stretching exercises, along with techniques to increase the range of motion and fine motor skills. Exercises are intended to not only build up underutilized muscles but also prevent weakening of bones. As dystonia is a neurological condition, physical therapy interventions don’t treat the disease directly but rather the symptoms and secondary effects that accompany the disorder.

Surgery for Dystonia

If you have more severe or widespread dystonia that is debilitating, you may benefit from surgery if other treatments have proven ineffective. Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is the most current and widely used surgical approach.

The surgeon implants thin electrodes into a part of your brain’s basal ganglia in this surgery. The electrodes are attached to a device similar to a pacemaker and implanted in your chest wall. The electrodes then distribute controlled electrical pulses to improve your symptoms of dystonia.

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