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Focal Dystonia

There are several forms of focal dystonia as well as other dystonias that may be limited to one area of the body. Focal dystonias often become apparent during the fourth or fifth decade, so called adult onset. However, symptoms may become obvious earlier in life. Overall, women are affected approximately 3 times more frequently than men.

The symptoms associated with the focal dystonias are variable and depend upon the intensity and severity of the spasms and the specific body region and muscle groups involved. The rate of progression from symptom onset to difficulties in activities of daily living and disability are extremely variable, ranging from rapid development over days or weeks to a gradual progression over a decade or more.

Symptoms of focal dystonias may initially be periodic, occurring only during stressful periods or randomly. At first, symptoms tend to appear when the affected body part performs certain movements; they typically disappear when the affected area is at rest. However, as the disease progresses, dystonic spasms begin to develop with other activities of the affected region. Symptoms may occur with voluntary actions involving other bodily areas. This phenomenon is known as overflow. Eventually, dystonia may be present when the affected part is at rest. Gradually, the affected area may assume an unusual and sometimes painful posture.

In up to 30 percent of patients, focal dystonias may extend to involve nearby areas, resulting in segmental dystonia. Less commonly, symptoms may begin to affect certain non-adjacent regions (multifocal dystonia).

Focal dystonias often stabilize within a few years and may gradually slightly improve. In addition, some patients may experience a temporary diminishing or complete remission of symptoms for days or months, usually within 2 to 3 years following disease onset. Evidence suggests that remissions most frequently occur in patients with cervical dystonia, as compared with other focal dystonias.

Focal dystonias are usually considered primary (idiopathic) dystonias, meaning that dystonia is the only sign, with the possible exception of tremor, and secondary causes are excluded. Adult-onset focal dystonias usually occur sporadically, in the absence of a family history. However, in some relatively rare cases, more than one family member may be affected. (For further information, see the section entitled "Etiology/ Primary Dystonia")

Commonly described forms of focal dystonia include...

. Cervical dystonia (spasmodic torticollis)
. Blepharospasm
. Oromandibular dystonia
. Laryngeal dystonia (spasmodic dysphonia)
. Limb dystoniaf

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Neurology Medical Center

Neurology Medical Center of South Orange County California serves patients in all South Orange County Communities including
Aliso Viejo, Capistrano Beach, Corona Del Mar, Costa Mesa, Dana Point, East Irvine, El Toro, Foothill Ranch, Irvine,
Ladera Ranch, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Woods, Lake Forest, Mission Viejo, Newport Beach, Newport Coast, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, Silverado, Trabuco Canyon and Tustin.

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