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Treatment for dystonia is often focused on alleviating painful muscle spasms and lessening the severity of symptoms such as muscle tremors and cramps. Dystonia can’t be cured, but with the right care, children and adults with this movement disorder can experience better quality of life.
As part of our neurosurgery and procedures, Dignity Health hospitals offer the following dystonia treatments in the Bay Area:
If you’d like to schedule a consultation with a Bay Area neurologist to discuss treatment, use our online search tool and Find a Doctor.
Treatment depends on the location of the affected area, such as the whole body or the muscles of the eyelid.
Your doctor may use oral medications — those taken by mouth — to influence how brain chemicals (neurotransmitters) work. These chemicals help control nerve signaling between the brain, nerve cells, and muscle tissue. Medications for dystonia block certain neurotransmitters and slow down these signals to reduce muscle spasms. Prescription pain relievers may also be prescribed.
If medication isn’t successful, deep brain stimulation (DBS) may be recommended. This involves surgery to place a device in the brain that disrupts excessive electrical signals that are thought to cause involuntary muscle spasms. This treatment is often prescribed for severe dystonia that doesn’t respond well to other therapies.
This medication is injected directly into various muscles to help relieve spasms. Often, doctors prescribe it to treat eyelid twitching and other focal forms of dystonia.
Your doctor may recommend treating more severe symptoms of dystonia, such as uncontrolled jerking or twisting, with nerve surgery. During this procedure, a neurosurgeon cuts nerve fibers that are connected to the affected muscles.
In addition to other treatments, supportive services such as physical, occupational, or speech therapy may help to improve coordination and vocalization.
Talk with your doctor about the benefits and risks of each treatment, as well as the side effects of any medications. Together with your doctor, you can create a personalized plan that meets the goals of your care.