Medical Definition of Dystonia

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Reviewed on 12/4/2018

Dystonia: Involuntary movements and prolonged muscle contraction that result in twisting body motions, tremors, and abnormal posture. These movements may involve the entire body or only an isolated area. Dystonia can be inherited, may occur sporadically without any genetic pattern, may be associated with medications (particularly antipsychotic drugs), or may be a symptom of certain diseases (for example, a specific form of lung cancer). Some types of dystonia respond to dopamine. Dystonia can sometimes also be controlled with sedative-type medications or surgery.

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Reviewed on 12/4/2018