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Recognizing Dystonia Symptoms in Central California

Dystonia is a neurological condition that creates involuntary muscle contractions in one or more muscle groups in the body. This movement disorder isn’t a disease, but rather, an abnormality in the nerves that control movement. 

At Dignity Health Central California, we provide care with humankindness for a wide range of neurological disorders. If you’re noticing dystonia symptoms in Central California, meet with one of our experienced neurologists. To locate a Dignity Health Central California doctor that’s right for you, use our online search tool and Find a Doctor.


Common Signs of Dystonia

The signs and symptoms of dystonia depend on the location of the disorder — whether it affects a single area, such as the hand or leg, or most of the body. In the beginning, symptoms may only occur with physical stress or activity. 

Generally, signs of dystonia include: 

  • Involuntary neck movements, such as jerking or twisting motions
  • Foot drag when running or walking
  • Hand tremors
  • Head tremors
  • Voice tremors
  • Eyelid twitching
  • Problems speaking
  • Muscle pain

These symptoms may begin gradually and get worse as time goes on.


Diagnosing Dystonia at Dignity Health Central California

Dystonia shares a range of similar symptoms with other movement disorders. For this reason, your doctor will need to perform several diagnostic tests, starting with a thorough personal and family medical history, in order to rule out other causes.

During the examination, your doctor may ask if you’ve been exposed to any chemicals, experienced any head injuries, or have taken any medications that affect the brain. He or she will also want to know if anyone in your family has a movement disorder or dystonia. Your muscle rigidity and reflexes will be tested as well.

Types of tests to diagnose dystonia may include:

  • Imaging scans, such as computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Urine tests
  • Blood tests
  • Electromyography (EMG)

In addition to these tests, your doctor may ask you to keep a record of your symptoms, including how often they happen, how severe they are, and the events leading up to them. This, along with the results from your examination and tests, will help your Dignity Health Central California provider create a personalized treatment plan that meets your needs and preferences. 

Dignity Health Central California neurologists use the latest diagnostic tests to assess dystonia symptoms in Bakersfield, Merced, San Andreas, and Stockton, CA.