Focal dystonia is a muscle/movement disorder that causes spasms and uncontrollable muscle contractions in a localized area of the body. It typically affects the hand and/or arm; eyes; vocal cords; mouth and/or jaw; and neck.
Symptoms of focal dystonia include involuntary flexing, difficulty executing precise movements, and involuntary twisting of the muscles. Tremors are also common. Most often, focal dystonia is only obvious during certain activities (such as writing).
Diagnosis is best made through a neurologist specializing in movement disorder, as there is to specific test to diagnose focal dystonia. A combination of tests are typically required. These include: analysis of blood, urine and/or spinal fluid; EMG; EEG; genetic testing; family and patient history; screenings to rule out other disorders and diseases.
Treatment for focal dystonia can be varied, as there are several types and manifestations of the disorder. There is no cure for focal dystonia, but treatment can lessen the severity of the symptoms. Typically, there are two options for treatment: medication and Botox injections.
Medication for focal dystonia works by affecting the transmission of neural messages from the brain to the affected muscle or muscle group.
Botox injections for focal dystonia work by weakening the injected muscles, preventing or reducing unwanted muscle contractions and twitching.