Dystonia is a movement disorder in which the muscles receive incorrect signals from the brain, causing them to contract and twist uncontrollably and sometimes painfully.
The disorder acts differently in different people, sometimes affecting only one muscle (“focal”), sometimes a group of connected muscles (“segmental”), or all muscles (“generalized”). If the condition begins in childhood, it does tend to spread to other areas of the body.
It can be accompanied by tremors (shaking), troubles in vocalizing, or foot dragging.
Dystonia can be hereditary or caused by other diseases or trauma. Treatment is tailored to the case, but may include oral medications, botulinum injections, surgery, physical therapy and deep brain stimulation.