Dystonia: Symptoms

The diagnosis of dystonia can take several years. When the person consults his general practitioner, she complains of contractures, involuntary movements, tics. Too often, the doctor, ill informed himself about the disease, tends to trivialize the symptoms. Especially since the muscular contractions are spasmodic and the discomfort is not permanent.

The affected person is obviously very anxious about these movements that she does not understand. It is easy to put these symptoms on the account of a bad state of mind or anxiety. It is then the vicious circle: the person is more and more worried, and his anxiety only increases his symptoms related to dystonia.

The diagnosis of dystonia is primarily clinical. It is on the medical examination that the practitioner will put a name on the symptoms. But sometimes it takes many years before the diagnosis is finally made. Yet, there are simple gestures that can highlight the disease.

The existence of an antagonistic gesture is very suggestive of dystonia. In the case of a torticollis, for example, just touching the chin, allows the head to return to the axis. It is therefore important, in case of doubt, to consult a neurologist who will recognize dystonia.

The complementary examinations envisaged are: the MRI or a scanner of the nervous system which do not give generally any result. No particular image is visible at these exams.

The sooner the diagnosis is made, the better the chances of rebalancing dystonia. And the fewer the risks of complications, even if the complications are rare. Untreated torticollis may, however, end up with repercussions on the spinal cord.

It is therefore important, when suffering from these abnormal movements, to quickly consult a specialist who will be able to make the correct diagnosis and organize the proper treatment. Especially since dystonia is a benign disease, it remains a disabling and psychologically painful pathology.

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