Dystonia is a neurological condition that affects movement. Estimated to affect around 100,000 people in the United Kingdom, dystonia causes involuntary muscle spasms that cannot be controlled, causing pain and discomfort that can range from mild to severe. The condition persists throughout the affected person's lifespan and sadly there is no known cure at the current time.
The exact cause of dystonia is not yet fully understood. It appears to be due in part to a chemical imbalance in the area of the brain known as the basal ganglia; this area works to regulate the contraction of muscles and control movement.
When this part of the brain is damaged, incorrect signals are sent to the affected muscles which then contract when the person tries to move. Muscles can also contract even when the person does not intend to make a movement. The result is spasms and tremors, which are collectively referred to as dystonic movements.
Dystonia is generally classified as being one of three different types. Inherited dystonia is the result of a genetic mutation. Secondary dystonia, sometimes referred to as acquired dystonia, has a definite cause, which can be an injury to the brain or a side effect of certain medications. Many incidences of dystonia are idiopathic: the cause of this third type of dystonia is unclear or unknown.
As previously mentioned, there is no known cure for dystonia at the present time and so treatment therefore focuses on managing the symptoms. There are various medications that can help to reduce the incidence and severity of dystonic movements and, in some cases, surgical intervention is necessary.
Another method of helping to reduce both the severity and the frequency of the muscle spasms and tremors associated with dystonia is the wearing of dynamic compression garments, such as those from the leading SDO® (Sensory Dynamic Orthosis) collection by Jobskin®. A wealth of clinical evidence and observations have shown that these garments can deliver immediate improvements in postural stability and musculoskeletal alignment.
If you need help and support in dealing with dystonia, you can visit the website of the Dystonia UK charity at https://www.dystonia.org.uk/. For further information about The World of SDO®, please browse the Jobskin website or get in touch with our dedicated clinical team.