Dystonia/Tremor Disorder


Dystonia is not a new condition. It affects thousands of people every year. Contrary to popular belief, dystonia is not a normal consequence of growing older. As a matter of fact, the onset of dystonia can be at any age. Dystonia is not a discriminatory condition, as it will affect men, women or children.

Presentation of dystonia may be varied. Classically, dystonia is defined as a movement disorder, which can affect any part of the body. The abnormal movement can be focal, such as twitching of an eyelid, or global, which could include the arm and hand, a leg, or even the entire upper torso. A dystonic movement disorder can also include abnormal muscle tone, twitching, or an unusual angulation of a joint. There are certain characteristic movement patterns that are specific and diagnostic to certain regions of the brain. Depending on the area of the brain involved with the tremor, different symptoms may be apparent.

There are three primary types of dystonia: basal ganglionic, mesolimbic, and dystonia from the cerebellum. All three types are from the brain or brainstem, but presentation can be clinically different with symptoms.

Historically, treatment for dystonia has been surgery, drug therapy and/or botulinum toxin A injections into the affected muscle. Botulin toxin paralyzes the muscle tissue temporarily. It does not fix the original cause of the dystonia. At best, the effectiveness of the botulinum toxin A is three to four months. At this time, the body develops an auto-immune response to treatments, therefore the effectiveness of the injections is diminished. And until recently, this was the only effective treatment.

The latest research suggests lack of activation can affect the brain’s ability to process information. Therefore, abnormal signals are misinterpreted by brain cells, therefore messages can get jumbled. Fortunately, non-pharmaceutically based treatments are now available and are effective for lasting long term results. These treatment modalities are available at Apple Medical Clinic. Treatment for each patient is individualized. Some of the treatments could include auditory or visual stimulation, calorics (warm or cold water in the ear), eye exercises, visual imagery, or spin therapy.

Prior to any treatment at Apple Medical Clinic, a comprehensive exam is performed. The purpose of the comprehensive exam at Apple Medical Clinic is to identify areas of decreased activity of the brain, brainstem, cerebellum, spinal cord and nerves. Problems in these areas can result in other systems away from the head and neck to be affected. The exam will cover patients from head to toe to ensure we assess and then treat the patient in the most appropriate and thorough manner.

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Author: Piyawut Sutthiruk

Losing weight will keep you healthy and have a long life. Cheer Up!

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