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Dystonia is a movement disorder in which your muscles contract involuntarily, causing repetitive or twisting movements.

The condition can affect one part of your body (focal dystonia), two or more adjacent parts (segmental dystonia) or all parts of your body (general dystonia). The muscle spasms can range from mild to severe. They may be painful, and they can interfere with your performance of day-to-day tasks.

There’s no cure for dystonia. But medications can improve symptoms. Surgery is sometimes used to disable or regulate nerves or certain brain regions in people with severe dystonia.

Dystonia affects different people in varying ways. Muscle contractions might:

Areas of the body that can be affected include:

Early signs of dystonia often are mild, occasional and linked to a specific activity. See your doctor if you’re experiencing involuntary muscle contractions.

The exact cause of dystonia isn’t known. But it might involve altered nerve-cell communication in several regions of the brain. Some forms of dystonia are inherited.

Dystonia also can be a symptom of another disease or condition, including:

Depending on the type of dystonia, complications can include:

Dystonia care at Mayo Clinic

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