For those who haven’t heard of Dystonia, the disease that’s not a country, here are the basics:
Dystonia is a disorder of movement…based in the brain. The best medical guesses pinpoint a structure called the basal ganglia.
Our muscles themselves are fine. They’re just receiving confusing instructions (“mis-transmissions”), like a mis-coached football team running around in senseless patterns, no offense or defense, as they fail to accomplish coordinated plays let alone score a touchdown!
In our game of dominoes, involuntarily contracting muscles cause twisting movements and occasionally commandeer the body into sustained positions. As you can imagine, it’s annoying and dysfunctional day-to-day. Frankly, I can’t tell my “contractions” from my “twists” and the only position I hold is blogger advocate!
The culprit of this neurological whodunit isn’t fully understood. Several naughty genes have been implicated but their misbehavior remains a mystery and they don’t lurk behind every case. Dystonia can also result from trauma, certain drugs or what seems like thin air. Each case expresses a unique personality that reacts differently to treatment.
As for point of impact, some forms are local (“focal”), focusing on a specific body part. Others, like mine, are “generalized,” spreading the wealth. There’s a bunch of strange names – early-onset torsion dystonia (my Valentine), spasmodic torticollis, spasmodic dysphonia, blepharospasm, oromandibular dystonia – but what did I expect? The medical community hardly earns high marks labeling diseases. I can’t imagine what they call their kids!